Ayr 3.00 (Scottish Champion Hurdle) tips – Shrewd backers could be onto a winner

Ayr 3.00 (Scottish Champion Hurdle) tips - Shrewd backers could be onto a winner

Iain Jardine


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Betting Tip: Shrewd @ 9/1 with coral

The Scottish Champion Hurdle (3.00pm) has been one by some equine stars in the past – champions such as Night Nurse, Sea Pigeon, Granville Again and Alderbrook spring to mind – but having attracted small uncompetitive fields for several years the decision to make it a handicap has given it a huge boost in terms of numbers and 13 are set to go to post on Saturday.

Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls are responsible for four of those as they leave no stone unturned in their bid for the British trainer’s title, with Nicholls having to play some serious catch-up. Neither of his runners make much appeal, though, whereas Mullins’ Ivan Grozny and Clondaw Warrior look major players. The former in particular must go well as he looks well treated under a 5lb penalty for his Aintree win and will have the services of Grand National-winning jockeyDavid Mullins, who claims 3lb off his back.

However, he has not always been the sort to run two races alike and he might struggle to give 9lb to the locally-trained SHREWD. The six-year-old has been a revelation since finishing well beaten in last year’s November Handicap on the level (typical as he was my tip for that race) and he lines up here chasing a four-timer across both codes, having followed up a couple of hurdle wins at Doncaster and Musselburgh with a victory on the all-weather at Wolverhampton last month.

They key to his success is that he is now settling much better in his races and after his latest win his trainer said there is now knowing how much more improvement he has in him. He also put up this race as his short term target and why not as he’s clearly improving at a rate of knots and his 5lb claiming rider Shane Shortfall has struck up a wonderful rapport with him. He was 161 at the start of the week but he still rates a good bet at just over half those odds (each-way if you must) with Coral.

Betting Tip: Shrewd @ 9/1 with coral

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