Past Winners » Alderwood


This is a really tight contest at first glance, but I think that the bookmakers have put Alderwood in at too big a price, and I am backing him at 9/2.

I am not sure that the Tom Mullins-trained gelding has been afforded the recognition that he deserved for winning the County Hurdle, but there was huge merit in that performance. He travelled really well through the race, he jumped well, and he got really badly hampered on the crown of the home turn. That should really have ended his chance in a race as competitive as the County Hurdle, so there was a lot to like about the manner in which he battled back and stayed on up the hill to win well.

The handicaps are generally not held in the same esteem as the Grade 1 novices’ contests at Cheltenham, but the County Hurdle is invariably a high-class contest, and Alderwood obviously achieved much more in victory at the handicap than any of his rivals today achieved in defeat in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

I am obviously a Steps To Freedom fan, but he ran a lifeless race in the Supreme, and he apparently coughed afterwards, so it is a fairly big ask to expect that he is back at concert pitch now, just 27 days later. He may well be, and his strength in the market suggests that he is, but he is far too short for me given that doubt.

I also like Midnight Game a lot as a horse, and he got fairly worked up before the Supreme, so it is possible to forgive him that run, but he reportedly hadn’t been working well in the lead up to Cheltenham, and he is another who has to bounce back. The fact that Davy Russell seems to prefer Il Fenomeno today is also an obvious negative.

Allure Of Illusion is another interesting horse, he ran a fairly eye-catching race to finish sixth in the Supreme, but he will probably be better over further, and Ruby Walsh seems to prefer Midnight Game.

The small field is a little bit of a worry for Alderwood, he stays much further than two miles, and he was well suited by the fast pace that they went in the big-field County Hurdle. However, he has won and run well in small fields in the past, he does have a turn of foot, and that worry is well accommodated in his price.