Horsebetting.com experts give their Prelude Handicap Hurdle betting tips for the feature Listed extended 2m feature race at Market Rasen. Theclockisticking has claims on his novice form, so is fancied most. Cause Toujours, meanwhile, represents in-form trainer Ian Williams and is also respected. L’Inganno Felice loves the Lincolnshire track, so is solid each-way value for trainer Iain Jardine. Read our 2018 Prelude Handicap Hurdle betting tips preview for more details on this tricky puzzle for punters. Theclockisticking weighted to strike in PreludeOne of the most eye-catching entries in the Listed extended 2m Prelude Handicap Hurdle at Market Rasen on Saturday (16:00) is Theclockisticking. Trained by Stuart Edmunds, the six-year-old was second here at this meeting 12 months ago on his debut under rules in a bumper and followed-up with a facile 32-length success on his hurdles bow at Fakenham.
Theclockisticking then went in again at Huntingdon beating the re-opposing Cause Toujours by 10 lengths when running on strongly after the last. He was then a far from disgraced third of six when pitched into Group 2 company for the Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle at Ascot before Christmas.
Although TheClockisticking was in touch with the leading pair two out, he simply lacked the pace to go with them, but stuck to the task well and was only beaten four lengths by Claimantakinforgan. It’s also worth remembering he finished in front of Colin Tizzard inmate Slate House who came into the race with a big reputation.
That Ascot run and his 26-length third in a Listed affair back at Huntingdon next time up were both on soft ground. Theclockisticking really appreciated the return to a sounder surface at Cheltenham on his penultimate start in April, where he was a gallant two-length runner-up to Diese Des Bieffes and headed inside the last 150 yards.
Connections clearly had a useful sort to go handicapping with this season and his last outing over 2m 4f at Aintree can be forgiven. This is because Theclockisticking shaped far better than the bare result suggests when a 12-length fourth as he raced prominent and was badly hampered rounding the home turn, but still chased the leaders before weakening in the final furlong.
As we showcased in our Bud Booth Mares betting tips guide, it could well pay to put a line through that, and the assessor has dropped him to a career low mark of 137. His Racing Post rating, meanwhile, is just 1lb higher than the one he last won off, so Theclockisticking has plenty of admirers and thus heads our 2018 Prelude Handicap Hurdle betting tips.Cause Toujours feared mostThe aforementioned Cause Toujours represents in-form trainer Ian Williams and now meets Theclockisticking off 6lb better terms in this. The jury is out on whether that’ll be enough to reverse Huntingdon form, but it should certainly bring him closer to his fellow six-year-old and that’s why he’s feared most in a race where there are plenty of dangers.
Cause Toujours has had just a couple of starts for his current handler since leaving Dan Skelton, but won both to break his maiden tag over hurdles. He also has some useful National Hunt Flat race form on his side, finishing a far from disgraced 11-length ninth to the ill-fated mare Fayonagh in the Champion Bumper at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.
Wind surgery looks to have worked wonders for Cause Toujours, as he was value for more than the winning margin of six lengths on debut for Williams when eased down in a Kempton novice hurdle in May. He then landed his handicap bow at Aintree where, after taking it up three out, he only had to be ridden approaching the last and stayed on well up the run-in to score by 1 3/4 lengths.
Although the handicapper has put him up 7lb for those two victories, Cause Toujours still looks the type open to further progress after just four career starts over hurdles. This demands more but, off a nice racing weight of 10st 2lb, his claims are obvious and a bold bid to land the hat-trick looks assured.L’Inganno Felice each-way value seeking a five-timerScottish trainer Iain Jardine has a real course and distance expert in L’Inganno Felice. He is three from three at the Lincolnshire venue, but the handicapper may be catching up with the eight-year-old gelding who likes to go from the front. Nonetheless, he looks solid each-way value based on his strong record here and four wins in five starts since switching to hurdles.
L’Inganno Felice is a winner in the grade who set a very strong gallop in the Summer Handicap Hurdle here on his last outing and had the field strung out like washing. He then stayed on well from the last to gamely hold his rivals and was value for more than the winning margins of 2 1/4 lengths.
Now on a mark of 144, he’s already defied an 18lb rise in the weights between his last two Market Rasen runs after bolting up by 26 lengths in the first of those. A further increase of 9lb may still not have got to the bottom of L’Inganno Felice, but it is starting to become more of an ask.
There’s only one other course and distance winner in the line-up in top-weight John Constable, who is definitely in the grip of the handicapper in this sphere and has been poor when campaigned over fences on his last two starts. It’s for that reason, despite the double figure prices on offer for that one, that we’re with L’Inganno Felice here as he’s open to more improvement.
Regular rider Ross Chapman also takes 3lb off him and that claim is really valuable in events like this. Taking that, his progressive profile and proven course form into account, we just had to include L’Inganno Felice in these 2018 Prelude Handicap Hurdle betting tips as our each-way selection.Your Next Bet