Greatwood Hurdle Date is Sunday, 15 November 2020

Racecourse: Cheltenham


Type: Grade 3 National Hunt Handicap Hurdle Race

Age Of The Horses: For Four Year Olds And Up


Distance: 2 Miles & 87 Yards

Winner 2020: The Shunter

2020 Greatwood Hurdle Results

What Happened in 2020?

The Shunter, one of the Irish raiders in the 2020 Greatwood Hurdle, landed a gamble on rain softened ground. After being bigger prices the night before and opening at 10/1, the money was down Emmet Mullins’ charge as he was backed into a 13/2 chance off bottom weight. Robbie Power looked to be in trouble aboard this horse at one stage when he lost ground at the third last, but he soon rallied and led on the run-in before pulling clear up the Cheltenham hill. At the line, The Shunter was a comfortable three-length victor over topweight Ballyandy, who once again ran a mighty race under a welter burden for father-son team Sam and Nigel Twiston-Davies at 8/1.

They finished just ahead of the 4/1 favourite Tegerek from the Jonjo O’Neill stable, who was in turn another three lengths clear of Olly Murphy trained veteran Hunters Call in fourth at 16/1. Ante post favourite Edwardstone (returned at a 13/2 starting price) kept on into fifth for Alan King, but stable companion and previous Greatwood Hurdle winner Harambe came to grief when still in with a chance at the last. That hampered Paul Nicholls’ 9/1 hope Sir Psycho. While 10 of the 14-runner field (17 were declared, but three horses pulled out because of the going) finished the race, 5/1 second-favourite Proschema was one of three to pull-up with his chance blunted by the testing ground.

What to Do Next?

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Page Contents

General Race Info

Runners & Tips

Stats & Trends

Past Winners

Greatwood Hurdle

Run under various titles in the past, the Greatwood Hurdle is a two-mile, half-a-furlong handicap hurdle race (Grade 3) with its origins going back to 1987 when Celtic Shot was the first winner of the event.

It is run each year during Cheltenham’s second meeting of the season, the November Meeting in the middle of that month, with the 2020 edition due to take place on Sunday 15th.

Many future Cheltenham Festival runners have used the Greatwood as a season-starting prep race, most notably for the Champion Hurdle but also for races such as the County Hurdle or even the Supreme Novices’. While only one winner in recent times has gone on to Festival glory, this remains a race of great importance when assessing Cheltenham form overall.

Back in 2002 Philip Hobbs’ Rooster Booser, at eight years old the oldest horse to have won the Greatwood in the last 20 years, went on from his win in this race to score in the Champion Hurdle itself when scorching away by 11 lengths under Richard Johnson to record a famous and very popular victory.

2020 Greatwood Hurdle Key Runners (09/11/2020 Update)

At the penultimate declaration stage, there are 21 horses entered in the 2020 Greatwood Hurdle but only a maximum field of 20 can race. That means if all entries stand their ground, the bottom weight won’t be allowed to run. Here are the Greatwood Hurdle horses in handicap order from topweight downwards:

  1. Ballyandy (Nigel Twiston-Davies)
  2. Main Fact (David Pipe)
  3. Tudor City (Tony Martin, IRE)
  4. Sir Psycho (Paul Nicholls)
  5. Harambe (Alan King)
  6. Edwardstone (Alan King)
  7. Sebastopol (Tom Lacey)
  8. Thyme White (Paul Nicholls)
  9. Mlikwood (Neil Mulholland)
  10. Hunters Call (Olly Murphy)
  11. Oakley (Philip Hobbs)
  12. Cormier (Brian Ellison)
  13. Strong Glance (Olly Murphy)*
  14. Benny’s Bridge (Fergal O’Brien)
  15. Tegerek (Jonjo O’Neill)
  16. Thinking (David Pipe)
  17. Proschema (Dan Skelton)
  18. Ballinsker (Evan Williams)
  19. Countister (Nicky Henderson)
  20. Pisgah Pike (Jamie Snowden)*
  21. The Shunter (Emmet Mullins)

*holds another race entry at the Cheltenham November Meeting

2020 Greatwood Hurdle Favourites

Here are some of the early favourites for the 2020 Greatwood Hurdle. According to the market, it is set up to be a typically wide-open renewal of the race:

Edwardstone (10/1)

Given his two successes in the last three seasons, Alan King may well be the trainer to follow in the Greatwood Hurdle market. The ante post betting is headed this year by 10/1 shot Edwardstone, who ended last season with a fine sixth in the Supreme at the Cheltenham Festival. Prior to that, this six-year-old won his first two hurdles starts and placed in a Grade 2 at Haydock when unlucky to be collared close home by Stolen Silver.

With just four outings over the obstacles under his belt and an opening handicap mark of 142, Edwardstone could well be better than his rating. He has tons of scope for further progress and, being by Kayf Tara, stamina should not be in doubt if it comes to a battle up the Cheltenham hill. There is definitely more to come from Edwardstone in his second season over hurdles and that campaign could begin here with King reportedly targeting the Greatwood Hurdle.

Thyme White (12/1)

Two of Paul Nicholls’ three previous Greatwood Hurdle winners have been four-year-olds, so Thyme White could be another young horse from Ditcheat taking aim at Cheltenham for the race. A French import who runs in the colours of the Stewart Family made famous by Big Buck’s, he progressed as a juvenile last season to land a Listed contest up at Musselburgh. While Thyme White didn’t fire in the Fred Winter at the Festival off 133, he showed that run to be all wrong on reappearance.

The Anodin gelding took apart a decent age-restricted handicap at Chepstow on Persian War day. Ridden under hold-up tactics by Harry Cobden, Thyme White progressed to lead two out and was clear at the last so won easing down by three lengths off 130. Although the handicapper has put him up 9lb for that, he could still make bags of improvement after just the five hurdle starts. Ante post odds of 12/1 for Thyme White in the Greatwood Hurdle reflect that.

Main Fact (7/1)

Since joining David Pipe, Main Fact won five handicap hurdles in a row. He scored the first of those off a lowly mark of 104 and now tackles the Greatwood off 43lb higher. In order to be seen to best effect, however, this horse needs cut in the ground but clearly remains in fine form after landing an autumn hat-trick of handicaps on the Flat. In total, then, he has won his last eight races. The stable’s conditional jockey, Fergus Gillard, has struck up a fine partnership with Main Fact.

He has been a short-price in all bar one of his superb streak, however, suggesting that the level of opposition hasn’t been up to much. The Greatwood Hurdle demands plenty more of a horse than class 4 company – the level at which Main Fact has mainly been racing. He is fully fit for action unlike some other market rivals, though, and has all the momentum in the world going into his first crack at a top-level handicap, so you just never know.

Proschema (13/2)

Dan Skelton saddled North Hill Harvey to Greatwood Hurdle glory back in 2016, and there has been plenty of market support for Proschema in the weeks leading up to the race. When trained on the Flat by Tom Dascombe, he was thought good enough to run in the St Leger as a three-year-old. Prior to running in Classic company, he placed third in the Melrose Handicap during York’s Ebor Festival. Last year, Proschema also ran third in the Northumberland Plate up at Newcastle and earned a peak Flat rating of 105.

He has since switched stables to the Skelton yard and won one of four hurdles outings. Connections have been at pains to only run him at left-handed tracks over obstacles with outings at Chepstow and Wetherby. Proschema was perhaps unlucky to bump into the unexposed Anemoi last time out, who has since won over fences. Off a nice racing weight in the Greatwood Hurdle, it is easy to see why punters are interested in him. Skelton has also talked up Proschema, so a bold bid is expected – especially if more positive tactics are adopted.

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Greatwood Hurdle Stats & Trends

The key thing to remember is that this is a handicap hurdle, so while the above list will show that for the majority of the better horses this is used as a Champion Hurdle trial, it can in fact be won by a horse lower in the weights who will not be aimed very high at the Festival.

Prevailing trends can help you find the winner of big betting races like the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham. Stats are no guarantee of course, but you are more likely to make better informed decisions knowing them. Here are some for the Greatwood Hurdle you should know:

  • The race has invariably been won by a top trainer/jockey combo, so stay away from those representing smaller yards even when their form looks decent.
  • In these 19 renewals, only three favourites at 11/8, 6/5 and 10/3 have won while two genuine outsiders at 33/1 and 20/1 have also scored. The other 14 winners were at prices ranging from 5/1 to 12/1 with an average SP of around 8/1, so it seems looking at those fancied runners just outside the head of the market is the way to go.
  • Leading jockeys – Richard Johnson has ridden three winners of the race, sharing the record with Jamie Osborne and Tony McCoy. Paddy Brennan is the only other active jockey to have had more than once success in the Greatwood Hurdle.
  • Leading trainers – Martin Pipe and Philip Hobbs have each saddled a joint record four winners of this. Paul Nicholls, meanwhile, has trained three winners and two since 2011. Alan King had two successes in the Greatwood Hurdle in the last three seasons with Elgin (2017) and Harambe (2019).
  • Favourites – The market leader has a poor recent record. Just three Greatwood Hurdle favourites and none after 2006 have obliged this century. It makes sense to look elsewhere in the betting, then.
  • Age – There is a clear age profile for the Greatwood Hurdle with younger horses favoured. Only three horses older than six have ever won this race, so it’s clear you should concentrate on those with youth on their side. Five five-year-olds have won the race in the last 10 years and three four-year-olds since 2011, and 11 of the past 14 victors were either four or five.
  • Rating – Only one horse since Rooster Booster carried topweight to victory in the 2002 Greatwood Hurdle has been rated over 150 and won the race. Five of the last nine victors had an official BHA handicap mark of between 141 and 149, but the last two renewals when to horses with lower ratings.
  • Weight – Since 2011, only two horses have carried more than 11 stone to victory. Focusing on those in the lower half of the weights could pay off, then. Four horses from 2002 onwards have defied topweight in the Greatwood Hurdle, though, so you can’t totally discount classy hoses framing the handicap.

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Past Greatwood Hurdle Winners

2019 Greatwood Hurdle Results

What Happened in 2019?

Harambe took a big step forward from his disappointing return to action when seventh in the Persian War at Chepstow by getting compensation in the Greatwood Hurdle. Tom Bellamy was back aboard him for the first time in almost a year and held him up towards the rear. Harambe, returned at odds of 16/1 was fourth jumping the last but ran on superbly up the famous Cheltenham hill and came with a late swoop, just touching off the rallying 9/1 chance Gumball from the Philip Hobbs stable by a neck. This gave trainer Alan King a second winner of the Greatwood Hurdle in the space of three seasons.

It was a further neck back to Monsieur Lecoq (9/1) for mother-daughter duo Jane Williams and Lizzie Kelly in third, while Welsh raider Quoi De Neuf (7/1) was behind in fourth for trainer Evan Williams and Adam Wedge. Nicky Henderson’s JP McManus owned mare, Dame De Compagnie (6/1) ran an eye-catching fifth but may need further than the extended two-mile trip of the Greatwood Hurdle. Benny’s Bridge, the 9/2 favourite, was never travelling and finished well down the field.

Greatwood Hurdle Winners 2019-2010

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer Festival Performance
2018 Nietzsche 5 Danny McMenamin Brian Ellison Did not race
2017 Elgin 5 Wayne Hutchinson Alan King 5thin Champion Hurdle
2016 North Hill Harvey 5 Harry Skelton Dan Skelton 16thin County Hurdle
2015 Old Guard 4 Harry Cobden Paul Nicholls Did not race
2014 Garde La Victoire 5 Richard Johnson Philip Hobbs Did not race
2013 Dell’ Arca 4 Tom Scudamore David Pipe 5thin Coral Cup
2012 Olofi 6 Paddy Brennan Tom George 10thin County Hurdle
2011 Brampour 4 Harry Derham Paul Nicholls 7thin Champion Hurdle
2010 Menorah 5 Richard Johnson Philip Hobbs 5thin Champion Hurdle