Lizzie Kelly is hoping she gets the chance to win a second Betfair Hurdle on the Williams’ family’s latest up-and-coming star, Monsieur Lecoq.
Kelly steered home Agrapart, trained by her stepfather Nick Williams, to land Britain’s richest handicap hurdle at Newbury in 2016 – and she puts Monsieur Lecoq, who is owned and trained by her mother Jane, in a similar bracket.
After wins at Ffos Las and Sandown this season, Monsieur Lecoq has risen to an official handicap mark of 132 and been allotted 10st 5lb.
Mohaayed has been given top weight of 11st 12lb – with Getaway Trump and Al Dancer, the sponsor’s 6-1 joint favourites, on 11st 1lb and 11st respectively.
Monsieur Lecoq, who is 12-1 with Betfair, will need 21 horses to come out to be guaranteed a start in the February 9 race, which has a maximum field of 24 plus two reserves. Horses with his rating would have made the cut in each of the last two runnings.
Monsieur Lecoq was raised 10lb after his latest win at Sandown.
“He is a nice horse – and although slightly immature, everything he does he does quite easily. So he is an exciting type,” said Kelly.
“When Agrapart won it, he ran and finished third in the Tolworth Hurdle – which was the same meeting at which Monsieur Lecoq ran. So in terms of preparation, it has been similar – and with Kalashnikov winning as a novice last year, he has the right type of profile.
“There is definitely more to come from him. He is not as forward as Agrapart. He very much knew his job at his age, but at the same time he had run on the Flat at a younger age and had probably done a little bit more. This horse is more immature but will have learned a lot from his run at Sandown.
“It’s really exciting to get another chance to ride in the Betfair Hurdle. The horses we train at home are of a high quality, and to be able to ride in races like this is a privilege.”
Kelly has a closer connection to Newbury than most, having spent the summer working in the racecourse marketing department.
“It was a great way to spend the summer when we don’t have very many runners. It was a brilliant opportunity,” she said.
“Newbury took a bit of a punt on me, because I had never done anything like it before, and I thought it was fantastic.”
Since the entries were released last week, the Paul Nicholls-trained Getaway Trump and Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Al Dancer have attracted most punters’ interest.
Betfair spokesman Barry Orr, said: ‘’It’s no surprise that the Betfair Exchange Trophy winner, Mohaayed, is allocated top weight – but all the money is for the top two in the market, with Al Dancer backed from 10-1 to 6-1 and Getaway Trump 6-1 from 8-1.
“Didtheyleaveuoutto looks to be on a nice racing weight. He has come in for support at 12-1, and is now 10-1.”
The shortest priced of the Irish-trained entries is Willie Mullins’ Uradel, who is a 14-1 chance with the sponsors after being allotted 10st 10lb.