Clyne (centre) between The New One (left) and L’Ami Serge
PICTURE: Getty Images
By David Baxter 12:03pM 22 JAN 2017
EVAN WILLIAMS is looking to build on Clyne’s fine second in Haydock’s Champion Hurdle trial by tackling the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury next month.
The seven-year-old had shown progressive form in handicaps before his run in the Grade 2, but left those efforts far behind with a gallant performance against proven performers The New One and L’Ami Serge.
Having jumped boldly in front, Clyne was eventually worn down by The New One – who was winning the race for the third time – when going down by a length.
Although wrong at the weights at Haydock, Clyne is now looking very well-handicapped for Britain’s richest handicap hurdle, off a mark of 143, with Williams taking advantage of the race’s early-closing entries.
Bookmakers reacted to Clyne’s run by cutting him to as short as 10-1 for the Betfair Hurdle, and Williams said: “It’s always a risk running when you’re a bit wrong at the weights, but it was a run to nothing.
“We roll onto Newbury without a penalty and we’re a winner without a penalty really. We’ve got a short window of opportunity as he has to have cut in the ground.”
Clyne also holds an entry for the Stan James Champion Hurdle, and Williams added: “If we won the Betfair and it came up a bog then you’d be thinking why not, but I don’t think Cheltenham would suit him; he needs a flat track.
“If we’re not good enough for Newbury we’re not good enough, but it’s nice to go there well-handicapped and we’ll see how he goes.”