Essex favourite for Newbury showpiece

ESSEX, winner of the Pierse Hurdle at Leopardstown earlier this month, is ante-post favourite to complete a famous double in the totesport Trophy at Newbury on February 12.

The five-year-old, trained by Michael O'Brien, is outright market leader at 6-1 with Coral and 7-1 with Ladbrokes for the £125,000 Grade Three handicap hurdle over an extended two miles.

However, William Hill make Essex, who has been handed 10st 5lb in the weights announced yesterday, one of four co-favourites at 8-1 with another Irish raider, Paul Nolan's Accordion Etoile, plus the Martin Pipe-trained pair Marcel and Tamarinbleu. The latter pair are among a 15-strong team from Nicholashayne.

The weights are headed on 11st 12lb by Rooster Booster.

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