Jake Price returns with two selections for the Stayers' Handicap Hurdle at Haydock. Did you back his two winners last weekend? Jake won a 9/1 and placed a 17/2 in last week's Weekend Forecast column.

Don't miss out on his ante post bets for Saturday's racing.

14:25 Haydock Betting Tips

Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 3m½f

Orbys Legend 1pt EW @ 7/1

Dans Le Vent 0.5pt EW @ 12/1

 

It may well be Betfair Chase Day at Haydock on Saturday, but the race I really enjoy getting stuck into every year is the Stayers Handicap Hurdle – known to most as the ‘Fixed Brush’ Hurdle until they changed the obstacles to conventional Hurdles back in 2017.

A race previously won by the likes of Dynaste hasn’t lost its appeal despite the switch in obstacles. However, as subsequent Stayers Hurdle winner Paisley Park won the race in 2018, with Sam Spinner and Stoney Mountain also running out good recent winners.

What I love about this race is that you need a perfect blend of potential and stamina, and in terms of your Handicap mark you usually need to have upwards of 6lbs in hand – so it makes narrowing the field a fun little task. As you can probably expect from a race which such a profile, 8 of the last 10 winners have been aged either 5 or 6 years old.

The Horse who I think has the perfect profile for the race is Philip Hobbs’ Orbys Legend, and although he is yet to tackle 3m on the track, I think he has shown plenty of stamina during his short career to date.

Starting his career in a Bumper at Newbury last November, Orbys Legend finished a good 2nd behind subsequent winner Skytastic, when also having recent Hurdles debut winner Mr Glass back in 3rd place. Going straight over Hurdles a month later at Exeter, Orbys Legend then really did start to show his stamina – beating The Brass Man (125) in very workmanlike fashion over 2m1f on soft ground.

Orbys Legend was given a bit of a break after that run and didn’t return to Haldon Hill for another 72 days, but he disappointed over the 2m2½f trip on Soft ground in February – beaten 13 lengths by Martinhal (132) and Solwara One (134) in foggy conditions. Bouncing back to form with another stamina-laden performance at Sandown a month later however, Orbys Legend dropped back to 2m and won very easily – staying on really strongly up the testing Sandown hill to score by 12 lengths.

Seemingly returning to action last month as a completely new animal however, Orbys Legend went to Chepstow to contest the Grade 3 Silver Trophy over 2m3½f – where he took his form to a new level on Handicap debut. Running off a mark of 130, Orbys Legend absolutely cruised through the race, taking the lead at the penultimate flight before kicking on to score easily – beaten by a reduced 1 length at the finish, but always doing enough under Tom O’Brien.

The form of that Silver Trophy is already working out quite nicely as the 2nd Didtheyleaveuoutto (136) went on to finish a close 2nd in a Pertemps Qualifier on his next start (so Orbys Legend will now be 2lbs better off with him in the Stayers Handicap Hurdle), the 5th Proschema (145) finished 2nd in the Grade 2 Yorkshire Hurdle and looked likely to go close at Cheltenham on Saturday before falling, and the 6th Gowel Road (141) hacked up in the 2m5f Intermediate Handicap Hurdle at the weekend.

With the form working out nicely, an 8lbs rise from a mark of 130 to 138 doesn’t seem as harsh as it first appeared, and I really do think he Orbys Legend has plenty left in the tank considering the way he looked after himself after the last at Chepstow. This Philip Hobbs charge won’t mind the forecasted decent ground, and I also think he is well worth trying over 3m here considering how much he relished the step up in trip last month, and how much stamina he has shown over shorter distances in the past.

Philip Hobbs is no stranger to having a Stayers Handicap Hurdle winner either having won the race back in 2016 with Kruzhlinin, and Orbys Legend could yet have scope for much further improvement.

Considering this is such a competitive race however, another Horse who I do really like at a bigger price is Evan Williams’ Dans Le Vent, as he has looked revitalised over the past 12 months. This 8yo certainly doesn’t fit the age category of a recent Stayers Handicap Hurdle winner (although Main Fact was a 7yo when winning 12 months ago), but he should certainly be staying on down that long Haydock straight when others have cried enough.

This former Jamie Snowden charge finished 4th in a Cheltenham Handicap Hurdle over 3m in his younger days, but since joining Evan Williams he’s really started to show a much higher level of form over Hurdles. Starting his season at Hereford last December in a Class 2 Handicap Hurdle over 2m3½f, Dans Le Vent defied a mark of 128 in the style of a Stayer when locked into battle with No Comment (129) – just battling back inside the final 100 yards to lead right on the line.

Dans Le Vent then went on to run some fine races in competitive Ascot Handicap Hurdles – finishing a staying on 4th behind Craigneiche (142) in the 2m3½f Grade 3 Holloway’s Handicap Hurdle in January off 132, before then running an almost identical race a month later in a Class 2 Handicap behind Shannon Bridge (137).

Two more terrific efforts would follow over intermediate trips at the two major Spring Festivals, with Dans Le Vent finishing a staying-on 8th in the 2m5f Grade 3 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham, before then going to the 2m4f Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle at Aintree – where he ran a blinder off 131 to storm through the field and finish just 2.5 lengths 2nd behind Irish raider Tronador (134), beating the likes of Edwardstone (150) and Mister Coffey (138) in the process.

This game Evan Williams charge made his return to action last month when dropped all the way back to 2m for the Welsh Champion Hurdle, and I’d imagine that they would’ve been happy just to get a run into him that day before moving on to bigger targets. Such is his rejuvenated form however, Dans Le Vent once again found himself storming through the field late in the day – not given a harsh ride from Isabel Williams yet flying home to take 2nd behind Glory And Fortune (142), whilst also having Leoncavallo (140) directly behind.

The Handicapper has been fairly lenient in only raising Dans Le Vent 1lb to a mark of 135 for that lovely opening effort, but I think returning to 3m on good-to-soft ground will be ideal for him considering the way he can just be switched off out the back of the field, before coming with a late run when the pace starts to collapse. The long run in after the last at Haydock has claimed many good Horses down the years, and although Dans Le Vent doesn’t have age on his side, he should relish that final furlong or so under 5lbs claimer Isabel Williams, who gets on so well with him.