Clyne lays down Betfair Hurdle marker with Haydock screamer
Evan Williams is looking to build on Clyne's fine second in Haydock's Champion Hurdle trial by tackling the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury next month.
The seven-year-old had shown progressive form in handicaps before his run in the Grade 2, but left those efforts far behind with a gallant performance against proven performers The New One and L'Ami Serge.
Having jumped boldly in front, Clyne was eventually worn down by The New One – who was winning the race for the third time – when going down by a length.
Although wrong at the weights at Haydock, Clyne is now looking very well handicapped for Britain's richest handicap hurdle, off a mark of 143, with Williams taking advantage of the race's early-closing entries.
Bookmakers reacted to Clyne's run by cutting him to as short as 10-1 for the Betfair Hurdle, and Williams said: "It's always a risk running when you're a bit wrong at the weights, but it was a run to nothing.
"We roll onto Newbury without a penalty and we're a winner without a penalty really. We've got a short window of opportunity as he has to have cut in the ground."
Clyne also holds an entry for the Stan James Champion Hurdle, and Williams added: "If we won the Betfair and it came up a bog then you'd be thinking why not, but I don't think Cheltenham would suit him; he needs a flat track.
"If we're not good enough for Newbury, we're not good enough, but it's nice to go there well handicapped and we'll see how he goes."