King hoping Bonney can shoot to Betfair Hurdle victory

William H Bonney: will be Alan King's Betfair Hurdle runner

PICTURE: Getty Images King hoping Bonney can shoot to Newbury victory By Mark Storey 1:16PM 6 FEB 2017

ALAN KING will rely on impressive Cheltenham winner William H Bonney in Saturday's Betfair Hurdle and hopes a 5lb penalty will not be enough to stop him making a significant impact.

Winter Escape, as short as 12-1, and Keep In Line, a general 16-1 chance, have both been scratched from the £155,000 contest by the trainer as 20 entries remained on Monday.

That Cheltenham success was only the second start for William H Bonney since he finished tenth in the Supreme last March and King said about the six-year-old, a top-priced 16-1 on Monday for the Betfair Hurdle: "I was very pleased with him at Cheltenham where he travelled well throughout the race.

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"This will be a step up in grade again, but he's still an improving young horse I think. I think he's got a chance, otherwise I wouldn't be running him.

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"He'll have a breeze midweek and providing that goes well he will take his chance. I would have preferred another week with him but as long as we are happy we'll head there."

Huntingdon next for Messire

King has plenty to look forward to before Saturday, however, with Tolworth winner Messire Des Obeaux set to have his warm-up for the Neptune Novices' Hurdle, for which he is a general 10-1 third favourite, at Huntingdon on Thursday.

He said: "Messire Des Obeaux will almost certainly to Huntingdon for the Sidney Banks, but he does have an 8lb penalty, which won't make it easy. But he does need a run before Cheltenham. I've also popped him in at Exeter on Sunday in case anything went wrong with the weather."

On Champion Hurdle hope Yanworth, who missed Saturday's Contenders Hurdle with a slight setback, he said: "He's back trotting and he will hopefully canter on Tuesday and if we're happy we'll try to get him to the Kingwell Hurdle a week on Saturday."

Clan missing Cheltenham

One unlikely to be heading to the Cheltenham Festival, however, is the Paul Nicholls-trained Clan Des Obeaux, who disappointed in the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown on Saturday.

The trainer said on his website: "Clan Des Obeaux is likely to miss Cheltenham and have a confidence booster at a flat track on better ground in six weeks before we raise his sights again at maybe Aintree or Ayr."

But Diego Du Charmil could be Festival bound after his Scottish County Hurdle success at Musselburgh. Nicholls said: "He'll have an entry in the County Hurdle at the Festival but he is ground dependent and wouldn't be going to Cheltenham if the going turns soft. Another option might be the Scottish Champion Hurdle."

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