At Wincanton this Saturday, 19 February, the feature race is the extended 1m 7f Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle (3:20). Won by a number of famous horses down the years including Bula, Lanzarote, Desert Orchid, Hors La Loi, Katchit and Binocular, it is one of the last Champion Hurdle trials before Cheltenham. See who our experts like en route to the Festival with their Kingwell Hurdle tips and predictions.
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Stats Paint Different Pictures at Wincanton
Most recent Kingwell Hurdle winners had an official rating of 150+, so that eliminates half of the four-runner field. Each had plenty of previous runs in the campaign under their belt but came to Wincanton relatively fresh. Seven of the eight latest victors were last in horse racing action between a month and 10 weeks beforehand. That stat doesn’t make good reading for the first two in the betting.
Five of the last 10 favourites obliged but only two of those after 2014. That means the top betting sites haven’t always had the right market leader lately. If not the favourite, then it has been horses second or third behind them winning this. Read more about the age profile for this race below, because it’s time for those Kingwell Hurdle tips for this year’s race.
Why Goshen is favourite in the Kingwell Hurdle odds
Gary Moore’s enigmatic Goshen hosed up here 12 months ago, beating last season’s International Hurdle hero and the 2020 winner of this, Song For Someone, out of sight. This quirky but talented six-year-old Authorized gelding came off a 70-day midwinter break then as past race results clearly show, however. Things are different now.
Goshen comes into his defence of the Kingwell Hurdle with just a 14-day turnaround. He returned to form with a 15-length romp at Sandown in the Contenders Hurdle on Scilly Isles day, beating another International Hurdle scorer in Guard Your Dreams. While Goshen did quickly back-up some of his runs on the Flat, he has never done so over hurdles in less than three weeks before.
As the leading horse racing betting sites know only too well, he hasn’t followed-up on a win since his juvenile hurdle days. Goshen tops official ratings on a mark of 156, so that’s why the bookies have him in as a favourite. As a betting proposition, however, he looks far too short at a best-price 5/6 for a maverick horse with questions against him.
Adagio appeals as alternative to fav
David Pipe trained the Kingwell Hurdle winner back in 2009 emulating famous father Martin. Pond House runs Adagio after an enforced winter break following a setback here and five-year-olds have a good recent record in the race. Six horses from that age group have won this since 2008. German-bred Adagio ran a belter on his only start of the season under top weight in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in November.
He conceded 13lb to the winner, West Cork, with plenty of subsequent winners in-behind. They include Grade 3 handicap scorers and a horse who was second in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. Based on his French Flat form from before joining Pipe, a softer surface shouldn’t be a problem for Adagio either.
After just 10 career starts including seven hurdle races where he hasn’t been out of the first two, Adagio could still have improvement in him. Goshen isn’t going to Cheltenham, so his main market rival with just 1lb to find at the weights needs to win this and justify Champion Hurdle odds of 20/1. Adagio is 6/4 with Bet365 and top of Kingwell Hurdle tips to land this en route to the Festival.
Tough making a case for other runners
Dan Skelton, who won this with Blue Heron back in 2015, saddles Faivoir back over hurdles here. This seven-year-old son of Coastal Path has a very different profile to that previous inmate of the yard, however. Faivoir returns to this sphere from chasing and his form over fences isn’t too bad. Looking back at his best over the smaller obstacles, he won a Haydock Grade 2 when overhauling Minella Drama by a neck in the final strides.
Faivoir was also a fine third in the Morebattle Hurdle where he bumped into handicap blot The Shunter. He later won minor races at Newbury at 7/1 and Cheltenham odds of 4/6 in the spring. A rating of 145 leaves Faivoir 7lb and 8lb behind the market principals off these terms, however. This explains why he’s a double figure price with the bookies.
Llandinabo Lad runs off 138 here for trainer Tom Symonds. The yard won the Kingwell Hurdle with Song For Someone two years ago, but his stable companion has a mountain to climb on official figures. A 6lb swing in the weights from Haydock last season doesn’t look anything like enough to reverse past form with Faivoir either.
2022 Kingwell Hurdle Tips & Shortlist
- Adagio *****
- Goshen ****
- Faivoir ***
- Also happening on Saturday is the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase, so read our tips and preview
- At Haydock, meanwhile, there Grand National Trial tips on offer
- Besides that, see our selections for the rest of the card with Haydock racing tips on the meeting
- Read the full 2022 Cheltenham Festival schedule and race times to see what’s on
- Shishkin is a strong favourite in the Queen Mother Champion Chase odds right now
- View current Stayers Hurdle odds and betting for St Patrick’s Thursday
- Cheltenham Gold Cup odds put Irish horses at the top of the market once again