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Small yard makes Seedling wrong odds for Cheltenham opener

| 18.02.2015

Who a horse is trained by, whether rightly or wrongly, virtually always has a bearing on its price for a particular race.

This isn’t always justified, as Briar Hill was sent off at a short-looking 2/1 for the Albert Bartlett at the last Cheltenham Festival, having won three Mickey Mouse races in Ireland at heavy odds-on.

His price was largely a result of the fact that he was the sole entrant of novice hurdle guru Willie Mullins, who had already saddled Vautour to triumph in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Faugheen to land the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle.

At other times, a lesser trainer can work in favour of the punter, as hailing from a smaller yard can result in certain horses sneaking under the radar.

A case in point ahead of the upcoming Cheltenham Festival appears to be Seedling, with Ladbrokes currently offering the standout best price of 33/1 that he wins the Supreme.

Seedling holds an experience edge over many of his rivals in the Festival opener as he is a second-season hurdler after failing to secure victory in his maiden campaign over the smaller obstacles.

However, these early runs shouldn’t be overlooked.

He was second in a maiden Newbury hurdle, where he finished ahead of Champion Hurdle entry Sign Of A Victory and then third at the same track behind recent Betfair Hurdle favourite Calipto on unsuitable heavy ground.

This season Seedling hasn’t put a foot wrong, with a perfect record of three victories.

The most recent was the most noteworthy, as he conceded 4lb to Some Plan and beat him by the best part of two lengths.

Some Plan has triumphed since and is now officially rated 144. Padge finished 25 lengths behind Seedling in the same race and has also entered the winner’s enclosure in 2015.

That victory came in a Cheltenham contest that can list Tidal Bay, Karabak, Darlan and Melodic Rendezvous among its previous winners, while Al Ferof would have also scored, if not falling when the race was at his mercy.

With this seasonal portfolio, if Seedling was trained by a bigger name than Warren Greatrex, there is every possibility he would be a single-figure price to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

33/1 certainly looks a monster price at present.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.