Time has run out on the race to have last year’s winner Recession Proof ready to defend his title in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on February 11, writes Elliot Slater.

The John Quinn-trained gelding has not been seen this season having last raced when a respectable fifth behind Al Ferof in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, staying on in the closing stages to beat beaten just eight-lengths by Paul Nicholls’ talented grey. The son of Rock of Gibraltar had been expected to compete at the Aintree Festival three weeks later but after meeting a minor setback was given the rest of the season off with a view to coming back to bid for a number of major prizes this term. Those looking at the Bwin betting should bear this in mind.

Unfortunately for connections of the dual purpose performer, a series of niggling injuries have meant that Quinn’s charge has failed to make it to the racecourse so far this term and now the North Yorkshire-based handler has admitted defeat in his attempt to have the horse ready to return to Newbury to bid for a second Betfair Hurdle, (run last season as the Totesport Trophy), and will focus on trying to overcome what are reportedly minor ailments to have him fit to run at either or both of the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals. People with a Bwin free bet should remember this.

Generally on offer at 16/1 for the valuable two-mile contest, Recession Proof produced a fine performance last year when battling on bravely from the second last to hold the persistent challenge of Bothy by just a short-head in what was one of the best finishes of the National Hunt season. Successful over two-and-a-half-miles in heavy ground at Lingfield earlier last campaign, connections clearly think staying is now very much the game for their charge who holds an entry in the three-mile Ladbrokes World Hurdle for which he is on offer with most firms at odds of 66/1.

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