Kevin Blake's Big Race Verdict: Eagle can pounce in Morebattle Hurdle

Betfair Ambassador Kevin Blake
Kevin Blake brings us his Big Race Verdict

Kevin Blake returns with his Big Race Verdict, this week looking at the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso, and our man fancies a red hot stable to land the spoils...

  • Stable form a concern for race favourite

  • Kerry Lee's form has been red hot of late

  • We're NRMB on all 28 Cheltenham Festival races

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  • The countdown to the Cheltenham Festival is understandably dominating the National Hunt landscape at the minute, but where better to go for some brief distraction that lovely Kelso in Scotland for a fine card of action this Saturday.

    The Morebattle Hurdle (14:50) is the main event and it is fantastic to see it attract a full field of 18 so close to the Cheltenham Festival. As always, it is deeply competitive and finding the winner won't be easy, but sure we'll give it a go.

    Strong pace very likely

    In terms of the likely pace, there looks to be plenty of it and it would be a big surprise if the pace wasn't at least even and probably stronger.

    The Churchill Lad and Caithness are regular front runners and look sure to both push forward. Geromino, Rewired and Ganapathi regularly race prominently and can help push the pace. Little Mixup has been racing prominently.

    Henderson stable form a concern for fav

    The favourite is the Nicky Henderson-trained Under Control and the five-year-old can have a very obvious form case made for her following her excellent second to Ashroe Diamond in a Grade 2 mares' hurdle at Doncaster last time.

    She did well to escape more than a 1lb rise for that and her chance is clear. However, the form of the Henderson stable in the last week or so has been quite worrying and, it is a variable that takes the shine off her current price.

    Red hot Lee yard can pounce with Eagle

    The one that makes the most appeal to me at the front end of the market is the Kerry Lee-trained Black Hawk Eagle.

    The six-year-old had a slightly exposed look about him when joining Lee from Noel Meade last year, but she has quickly pulled significant improvement from him.

    Following a cobweb blower on his British debut in November, he improved to win a handicap hurdle at Wincanton in gritty style, beating Geogi Girl by ¾-length. That rival more than did her part to advertise the form by winning her next two starts and going up 18lb in the ratings.

    Black Hawk Eagle improved again on his next start, winning in even better style in a handicap hurdle at Hereford. He was again ridden with patience on that occasion and ultimately won with plenty to spare.

    A 6lb rise looks to underestimate his progression and the fact that his trainer is sending him alone on the 300 mile trip to Kelso can only be considering a positive. Another positive is that Kerry Lee is in red-hot form with four of her last five runners having won.

    More so than anything else, Black Hawk Eagle has the right run style for the type of race this is likely to be. Patient tactics might well be rewarded and Richard Patrick is well armed to deliver them on Black Hawk Eagle having done so with such skill in his last two starts.

    While he isn't a big price by any means, Black Hawk Eagle ticks a lot of boxes and warrants support at his current price.

    Back Black Hawk Eagle to Win 14:50 Kelso @ 4/15.00

    Bet here

    Now read Tony Calvin's Saturday ITV Racing Tips here.


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