Televised racing from Newbury and Doncaster today, with the Berkshire track hosting the Grade 1 Betway Challow Novices’ Hurdle at 3.00.

Hot favourite for this is the Nicky Henderson trained Champ at 5-4 and this 6-y-o may take all the beating. Past winners of this race have won handicaps off marks in the 120s, but Champ was last seen winning one over this CD off 139, so, despite a plethora of promising types in opposition, we recommend a lash into this at the price.

The Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap Hurdle at 1.50 also looks at the mercy of a Henderson inmate in the shape of Dragon D’Estruval, which should be backed at 5-2. Making smooth and effortless headway to join the leaders on its seasonal reappearance, either the distance (3m) or the lack of a run, or both, saw the horse fade to finish seventh. However the potential was obvious and, over today’s two & a half miles, this is a wager, major.

The Betway Mandarin Handicap Chase at 2.25 has Reikers Island installed as favourite at 3-1, but a rise of 13lbs for its latest win might be too much and we prefer an each way bet on Ballydine at 5-1.

Charlie Longsdon‘s lightly raced treasure needed its come-back run when an honourable 5th in a Listed chase at Newcastle, a race which has seen the first and second repeat the dose in a similar race next time. Should be spot on today and is weighted to win.

The card closes with the Betway Novices’ Handicap Chase at 3.35 and, in this, we find it impossible to look beyond yet another Nicky Henderson runner, our old friend Wenyerreadyfreddie. Having destroyed the opposition at Ascot on handicap debut, Freddie returned to the Novice ranks carrying a penalty, giving weight to Kildisart and Azzerti. Those two were impressive winners next time out and 148 may not stop the boy today. Get on at 2-1.

Over at Sunny Donny, action starts at 1.30 with the MansionBet Handicap Chase at 1.30 and we will oppose the favourite by suggesting ane ach way bet on Battle Of Shiloh at 5-1. ‘Was very good, got injured, made very promising comeback’ is a brief summary of this 9-y-os career and, provided all has gone well, this is the best handicapped horse in the race.

The MansionBet Yorkshire Silver Vase Mares’ Chase at 2.05 sees another favourite of ours, Lady Buttons reappear after her demolition job over hurdles at the beginning of the month. Equally adept over the larger obstacles, let’s hope she goes in again. A win bet at 11-8 is recommended.

Last race we cover is the MansionBet Chase at 2.40, which has just the three runners but also a good bet. The 4-y-o Ballywood has been transformed by the switch to chasing and, just 6lbs higher than for its latest facile victory should be thumped at 11-10.

Happy New Year to all our readers – back in 2019.


Champ 3.00 Newbury 4pts win @ 5-4
Dragon D’Estruval 1.50 Newbury 2pts win @ 5-2
Ballydine 2.25 Newbury 2pts e/w @ 5-1
Wenyerreadyfreddie 3.35 Newbury 2pts win @ 2-1
Battle Of Shiloh 1.30 Doncaster 2pts e/w @ 5-1
Lady Buttons 2.05 Doncaster 4pts win @ 11-8
Ballywood 2.40 Doncaster 6pts win @ 11-10

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