The Noel Fehily Racing Syndicate could be doubly represented in next month’s Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, with both Hansard and Kamsinas in line for the lucrative handicap.

Gary Moore’s Hansard showed his liking for the Berkshire track when landing the Gerry Feilden in November, since when he has finished a creditable fifth under a big weight in the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot.

Kamsinas looked a potential star novice for Fergal O’Brien after landing a Grade Two prize at Haydock on his penultimate start, but having since come up short in the inaugural running of the Grade One Formby Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree on Boxing Day, he is set for a switch to handicap company.

“The plan at the moment remains for them both to run at Newbury, as long as everything stays okay between now and then,” Fehily confirmed.

“Hansard won the Gerry Feilden on his second to last start and I think the track suits him, so the Betfair Hurdle is very much the aim for him.

“Kamsinas won a Grade Two at Haydock, he was beaten in a Grade One last time out, but I think this race could just suit the likes of him as well. He is a novice and is hopefully still improving.”

Neil King is also considering another crack at handicap riches with his stable star Lookaway.

The seven-year-old completed a hat-trick of novice wins when beating Kamsinas in Grade Two company at Cheltenham towards the end of October.

He then performed with credit against seasoned campaigners when second in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle back at Prestbury Park, only being headed on the run-in by Iberico Lord.

Lookaway filled the same position behind Captain Teague in the Grade One Challow at Newbury over the festive period and Britain’s most valuable handicap hurdle is now one of his upcoming options.

“We have the three options for him now following his huge run in the Challow Hurdle; we either go to Cheltenham Trials Day, back to Newbury for the Betfair Hurdle or the Sidney Banks Hurdle at Huntingdon,” said King.

“I thought Trials Day would come too soon after the Challow but he has come out of the race so well, I don’t think he had as hard a race as we anticipated, he is in great form.

“We will review entries and ground conditions and make a decision as to where we go next, but the Betfair Hurdle is very much an option.”

With a total prize fund of £155,000 up for grabs on February 10, the Betfair Hurdle has predictably attracted a strong book of entries.

Nicky Henderson has six of the 40 possible contenders, with the aforementioned Iberico Lord joined by Betfair Exchange Trophy one-two Luccia and Impose Toi, plus Under Control, First Street and Doddiethegreat.

Paul Nicholls has Elite Hurdle hero Rubaud and Long Walk Hurdle fifth Blueking d’Oroux, while Willie Mullins has three of the four potential Irish raiders in Alvaniy, French recruit Ocastle Des Mottes and Onlyamatteroftime.

Olly Murphy’s Go Dante is one of four early co-favourites with the sponsors and Betfair spokesman Barry Orr commented: “It’s a cracking list of entries and that’s reflected in the market at 8-1 the field.

“Last month’s Betfair Exchange Trophy, which was won by Luccia, could hold the key to this race, with eight of the nine runners entered here.

“The winner looked a different proposition at Ascot and she would be considerably shorter if taking up this engagement, while Onlyamatteroftime, Impose Toi and Altobelli will all be in the mix.

“Rubaud would also be an interesting contender having disappointed in this race last season as a novice but rated 19lb more in this renewal.”

Hansard defied a welter burden to win the Bet In Race With Coral Intermediate Handicap Hurdle at Newbury for Niall Houlihan and Gary Moore.

Saddled with top-weight due to some smart form in novices, he dwarfed many of his rivals in the race registered as the Gerry Feilden.

Beaten less than four lengths in a Grade One at Aintree by Henry de Bromhead’s Inthepocket at the Grand National meeting, he had made a satisfactory return to action when second to Rubaud in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton.

With Jamie Moore sidelined with a serious injury, his father has put plenty of faith in Houlihan and he continues to repay him.

Houlinhan saved every inch of ground on the inner but he looked booked for a place at best two out as Bad and Brentford Hope set a target. Arguably Under Control was travelling the best at that stage, but she was almost pulled up on crossing the line having faded tamely.

With Brentford Hope failing to pick up on ground quicker than ideal, Hansard dug deep and the 15-2 shot went on to win by three-quarters of a length.

“We were very lucky to get him and it was very nice of Noel (Fehily, syndicate manager) to send him to me. He’s a very nice horse and he’s big enough to jump fences one day, whether he does or not I don’t know,” said Moore.

“Wincanton and the pace of the race took the fizz out of him, they went hard from the word go which suits him.

“He’s in the valuable race at Ascot (Betfair Exchange Trophy, December 23) just before Christmas and after that it just depends what the handicapper does to him as we could be in trouble if we over-race him.

“He does all the right things that make you think he could be (a Pattern performer) but he has to improve again.

“He wouldn’t want to run tomorrow but he’s a hardy horse who takes his racing well.”

When asked about a possible crack at the Betfair Hurdle back at Newbury over the same course and distance, Moore said: “Absolutely, but I don’t think he could win that with 12st.”

Fehily said: “I was delighted with that and he’s a horse we liked last year as a novice.

“I was a bit disappointed maybe with his run at Wincanton the last day and I think maybe he is learning to settle a bit better now and they went fast today which suited him.

“I feel a bit sorry for Jamie Moore today, he has been fantastic and I’m sorry he’s missed it as he loves this horse. But it was a great performance and we’re very happy.

“He’s got a big step up to get into Grade Once company, but to win a handicap like that off top-weight, he probably is a Graded horse now. I’ll speak to Gary and see what the plan is, but we’re going in the right direction anyway.”

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