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Greatwood Handicap Hurdle 

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Last Year’s Leading Novice Hurdlers Set to Clash in Cheltenham’s Greatwood Hurdle 04/11/10

One of the most revealing Champion Hurdle trials is the Grade 3, Greatwood Handicap Hurdle which will be run at Cheltenham on Sunday November 14th as part of the ever popular Paddy Power and this year it is likely to bring together the top two from the 2010 Supreme Novices Hurdle, Menorah and Get me Out Of Here.

Ashkazar
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Ashkazar
Certainly the two top novice hurdlers from last season both feature prominently in both the weights and antepost betting for the Greatwood, with Menorah on 11st 8lb and 6/1 second favourite and Get Me Out Of Here a pound less and a couple of points back in the betting at 9/1 with Victor Chandler; top weight however is the David Pipe trained Ashkazar on 11st 12lb, who was, a couple of years ago at least, a leading fancy to land the Champion Hurdle, but finished well down the field behind 2008 Champion Hurdle winner, Punjabi.

Get Me Out Of Here
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Get Me Out Of Here
The Roll of Honour for the Greatwood Hurdle is a very impressive one, with last year’s winner being the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained, Khyber Kim, who went on to be second in the 2010 Champion Hurdle behind Binocular. In 2007 the race was won by none other than Sizing Europe, who ultimately flopped in the Champion Hurdle but he did start that race as a very well backed hot favourite and looked certain to win after a string of impressive performances. Rooster Booster has won both, he won the Greatwood in 2002 and went on to win the Champion Hurdle 4 months later in fantastic style.

Should Menorah and Get Me Out Of Here renew rivalries, then this year’s race could be one of the most exciting for some time, although it should be said both will have their worl cut out to be likely favourite, Sanctuaire. This promising four year old, who is trained by Paul Nicholls, was also a winner at the Cheltenham Festival last year, taking the Grade 3, Fred Winter Novice Handicap Hurdle and the champion trainer has made all the right noises heading in to the new campaign about the horse now following the loss of his Novices tag.

Menorah
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Menorah
Menorah, trained by Phillip Hobbs is a highly consistent 5 year old who has yet to finish outside the first two in any race. His win in the Supreme Novices, by a head only from Get me Out Of Here, was somewhat of a surprise, but he proved in winning that he was a big improver and according to Hobbs will start this season in fine form.

In his final race last season he came up against and was beaten by the Nicky Henderson trained General Miller, who ran on in great style to win the Grade 2, Top Novices Hurdle at the Aintree Grand National meeting, with Menorah beaten a neck in second. It was a sweet victory for General Miller who had unseated his rider at the first in the Supreme Novices. General Miller has been given 11st 3lb for the Greatwood and also feature prominently in the betting along with stabelemate Oscar Whiskey.

Oscar Whisky
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Oscar Whisky
Oscar Whisky was 4th behind Menorah in the Supreme, but was coming off a four race four win career, which had prompted stable jockey, Barry Geraghty to opt to ride him as opposed to General Miller. Should the two both run in the Greatwood, it will be very interesting to see which one Geraghty opts for.

Get me out Of Here, who had ran up a five timer last season, before losing to Menorah at Cheltenham, has already had one outing this term where he disappointed by finishing only 7th in the Listed William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on 30th October. It is true that he took a very keen hold in the early stages of that race which could be blamed for his lack of stamina in the end, where he faded after making some headway.

Whoever wins the 2010 Greatwood will undoubtedly be regarded as a main Champion Hurdle contender, but whether he will have enough about him to topple already warm favourite, Binocular and the other leading protagonists is another matter altogether. Nonetheless history tells us to follow the fortunes of Greatwood Handicap Hurdle winners and this year will be no exception.

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