Schhhhhhh…….it’s Betfair Hurdle day at Newbury – no William Franklin but 24 beasties vying for a prize of £87,000 and change.
(“Woz ‘e on abart?” “Dunno, mate, before my time.”)
If you are lucky enough to have an account with DodgyBet, they are offering 15 places on this race – if not, you’ll have to make do with just 6.
As befits the extreme competitiveness of the 3.35 race, it’s 7-1 the field and our main pick is the Jamie Snowden trained Thebannerkingrebel, which is available at 9-1.
Novices have an exceptional record in this particular race and this horse is unlucky not to be unbeaten in its five hurdle runs to date, winning three, falling once and stuffed at the last when a close third in a Grade 2 at Haddock three weeks ago.
By coincidence, this 7-y-o has been allotted the same handicap mark (141) as the last two winners and surely will Gavin Sheehan a great spin.
Our other choice is Ciel De Neige, from the yard of Willie Mullins.
A rare runner in this race for the master trainer, CDN finished 3rd in the Fred Winter at the Festival last March and is on a really attractive handicap mark after just two runs since. Have a bit each way at 15-2.
Tele-coverage starts with the Betfair Bet In-Play Handicap Hurdle at 1.50 and the key to this race may well be a similar contest at the end of November, when four of today’s nine fought out the finish.
One For The Team came out on top that day and, having followed up with a really good 3rd in a 0-155 at Warwick, is taken to confirm the form.
Have an each way bash at 9-2.
The Game Spirit Chase at 2.25 sees the much anticipated return to action of Altior, with his esteemed handler certain the horse is back to its imperious best. Although not a betting proposition at 2-5 today, if the real Altior shows up, the 11-4 currently available for the Champion Chase on March 11th will be a distant memory. Yes, folks, it’s ‘Trust The Trainer’ time and we advise an ante-post plunge before 2.25.
The Betfair Denman Chase at 3.00 has the look of a penalty kick for Native River at 1-3, so its over to Warwick for three races there.
The Agetur UK Kingmaker Novices’ Chase has a filed of 6 with Nube Negra firmly at the head of the market at 5-4. This looks a fair price for Dan Skelton‘s charge, which has shown much the best form since switching to the larger obstacles and we recommend a serious bash at that price.
We also have a weather eye on Torpillo, which looked mightily impressive over CD in November and has been given the pause that refreshes after disappointing at Sandown in early December. A modest each way bet at 6-1 is the way to go.
The Listed Paddy Power…Mares’ Hurdle at 2.40 is a ‘dead eight’ race and, in the hope that number sustains, we suggest an each way bet on Ben Case‘s ‘improver’ Coded Message at 6-1.
Last but not least is the Paddy Power…Warwick Castle Handicap Chase, which is another ‘dead eight’ jobby.
Complete outsider of the field is Northern Beau and we don’t think it should be. At its best when carrying a featherweight against more talented rivals, this 7-y-o may just gallop its rivals into submission and is worth an each way punt at 16-1.
For safety’s sake, we also recommend a win bet on King Of Realms at 5-1.
See you all next week.
Thebannerkingrebel 3.35 Newbury 1.5pts e/w @ 9-1 (6 places)
Ciel De Neige 3.35 Newbury 1pt e/w @ 15-2 (6 places)
One For The Team 1.50 Newbury 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2
Nube Negra 2.05 Warwick 6pts win @ 5-4
Torpillo 2.05 Warwick 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (2 places)
Coded Message 2.40 Warwick 1.5pts e/w @ 6-1
Northern Beau 3.15 Warwick 1pt e/w @ 16-1
King Of Realms 3.15 Warwick 2pts win @ 5-1
Altior Champion Chase, Cheltenham March 11th 4pts win @ 11-4