How good is Thosedaysaregone? How far can Seddon go? And, is Ballymoy the first topweight since Lough Derg to win the Holloway's Handicap Hurdle?
Those are the questions set to be answered at Ascot on Saturday, as an intriguingly broad range of steeds head the Holloway's Handicap Hurdle betting, none with shorter odds than Irish raider Thosedaysaregone.
He's bidding to defy a 9lb ratings hike after winning his first handicap outing last weekend, and is no bigger than 3/1 to achieve that, inexperienced novice Seddon 5/1 and five-time winner Ballymoy priced at 7/1.
There are three key trends for the Holloway's Hurdle at Ascot, giving a couple of magic numbers for whittling down the field.
According to trends from the past nine runnings, you're looking for a horse aged five or six, who has run at least six times over hurdles and won at least two hurdle races, but ideally three.
The winners either come from the top of the weights, or the bottom, though four of the last five winners carried more than 11st to victory and were rated 140 or more. The average rating across the nine renewals is 142, and eight of the nine surveyed winners were rated 134 or more.
Ballymoy, Boite, Lord Napier and Colonial Dreams stand out as clear trends picks, with Ballymoy (7/1 Black Type) topping the lot by ticking almost every box. Topweight is a concern, if you're looking for a winner, but he's a fine each-way prospect as a topweight has finished in the top three six times, another finishing fourth.
Colonial Dreams (14/1 Paddy Power) is a better bet, the seven-year-old winning a maiden hurdle over course-and-distance last March and going on to prove versatility with a win at Market Rasen over further, and on better ground. He returned to action at Kempton last month with sixth in a 2m5f handicap hurdle and has kindly been dropped 2lbs for that effort.
>> Back Colonial Dreams Each-Way at 14/1 with Paddy Power
The Holloway's Hurdle favourite Thosedaysaregone was backed into 11/10 from 9/4 before winning over Saturday's distance on his handicap hurdle debut at Wetherby last Saturday.
The six-year-old, who does have the magic six runs over hurdles, was raised 9lbs for that cosy victory under almost bottom-weight, but is set to carry even less weight in the Holloway's Hurdle. He's got 10st 6lb presently, with claiming riders having ridden him in eight of his 11 races.
Thosedaysaregone is as short as 5/2 in the Holloway's Hurdle betting, but can be backed at 3/1 with one of the best new bookmakers in town, Black Type, who pay the standard three places - if you're interested.
>> Back Thosedaysaregone to Win at 3/1 with Black Type