Betfair Hurdle day at Newbury together with three races from Warwick make up today’s televised fare, with the valuable handicap last up at 3.35.
Fourteen runners contest this valuable prize, in which Novices have an excellent record and the market is headed by one of those in the Nicky Henderson trained Broomfield Burg at 4-1. The one handicap that this 6-y-o has contested resulted in a defeat at Cheltenham off a mark of 130 and it races this afternoon off 134, so there would appear to be little wriggle room.
We think another Novice, Jpr One may be better handicapped, having beaten two higher rated horses the very first time it set hoof on a racecourse. Since then Colin Tizzard‘s 5-y-o has suffered a narrow defeat at Cheltenham and pouched an easy win at Taunton, where it hurdled especially fluently. At 7-1 and with five places on offer a half decent each way bet is recommended.
Our other pick for this race is Boothill (cf headline), trained by Harry Fry.
This lightly raced 7-y-o has had its training problems but reappeared after 10 months off with an excellent third in a Listed Handicap at Ascot, close behind today’s rival (and last year’s race winner) Soaring Glory.
An early switch to fences in December didn’t go to plan, since when Mr Fry has aimed his pet at this very race and we think it will at least make the frame so suggest an each way tilt at 8-1.
Action starts with the Betfair Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase at 1.15 which features a slightly surprising runner in Bravemansgame, which, unsurprisingly, carries top weight and has forced two of the other four runners to compete from well out of the handicap. With the recent well documented malaise in the Nicholls‘ camp, we oppose with Grumpy Charley, which was impressive when winning over this course last time out and which looks well suited by the slight step up in trip today. Let’s venture an each way bash at 9-2, shall we?
The Betfair Handicap Hurdle at 1.50 is a tad of a nightmare, as evidenced by the fact that it’s 9-2 the field even though there are only eight runners, so we swerve – sorry.
The Betfair Denman Chase at 2.25 looks a straight fight between Clan Des Obeaux and Royal Pagaille, and, given the aforementioned comments, we give the nod to the fragrant Venetia‘s runner at 15-8.
The lovely lady may also taste success in the Betfair Game Spirit Chase at 3.00 with the rapidly improving Funambule Sivola, which can take another step forward under Charlie Deutsch. Take the 9-4 on offer.
Over at Warwick, coverage starts with the Listed Warwick Mares’ Hurdle, and we must give another chance to Marie’s Rock.
Put out of the race by a faller last time out, NJH‘s 7-y-o can take her second Listed race in receipt of 6lbs from the fav. 7-4 is her price.
The Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at 2.05 sees Edwardstone tune up for Cheltenham and we don’t view this race as a betting opportunity.
That just leaves the Warwick Castle Handicap Chase at 3.15 in which we will venture a modest each way bet on the Irish challenger Dinny Lacey, which is available at 6-1.
Trained by J Motherway (sorry, me neither) this 8-y-o finished a very solid 3rd of 14 at Limerick at the end of December and Robbie Power has pitched up to ride – a tip in itself, maybe.
Let the jumping begin.
Jpr One 3.35 Newbury 1pt e/w @ 7-1 (5 places)
Boothill 3.35 Newbury 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (5 places)
Grumpy Charley 1.15 Newbury 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (2 places)
Royal Pagaille 2.25 Newbury 3pts win @ 15-8
Funambule Sivola 3.00 Newbury 2pts win @ 9-4
Marie’s Rock 1.35 Warwick 3pts win @ 7-4
Dinny Lacey 3.15 Warwick 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (4 places Hills/Skybet)