Inside today’s main piece I have a few stats for Newbury’s Winter Carnival. I take look at Friday’s big race the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle and a couple of races from Saturday’s ‘Fighting Fifth’ meeting at Newcastle. Plus, there’s a selection from Wolverhampton.
Something for the Weekend – Part 2
Newbury Winter Carnival Stats
Nicky Henderson is the winning most trainer at Newbury’s Winter Carnival. Since 2016 he’s had 14 winners from 61 runners 23% +11.33 30 placed 49%.
All fourteen of the Henderson winners were returned 10/1. He’s 0 winners from 17 runners with those sent off bigger.
Other trainers whose runners could be worth noting are:
Ben Pauling – 4 winners from 15 runners 27% +18.13 5 placed 33%
Venetia Williams – 2 winners from 4 runners 50% +12
The meeting hasn’t been one for big priced winners. Those going off 14/1 & bigger have produced just 4 winners from 303 runners 1% -209 41 placed 14%.
Paisley Park’s Long Distance Hope
The feature race of the first day of the Newbury Winter Carnival is the Grade 2 Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle. The final declarations came out on Wednesday and just six are set to meet the starter.
At the head of the ante post betting is Paisley Park won the race in 2019 and was only beaten 1 ½ lengths by Thyme Hill in last year’s race. The 9-year-old isn’t as good as he used to be. But as he showed when a 5 ¼ length 3rd of 8 to Indefatigable in West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby on his seasonal return that he retains plenty of ability. He might be done for toe, on good ground, in a tactical race but it’s worth noting his form figures on his second start are 2111.
The biggest threat to the favourite could come from Lisnagar Oscar. A surprise winner of the 2020 Stayers Hurdle. He didn’t really hit top form last season although he was still travelling kindly when falling at the 7th in last year’s Stayers Hurdle. Shaped with a bit of encouragement over an inadequate 2m 4f when a 9 ½ lengths third of 6 to Brewin'upastorm on his seasonal return at Aintree. Trainer Rebecca Curtis came of the cold list with a couple of winners at the weekend which is a positive.
Newcastle ‘Fighting Fifth’ Day
Whilst all eyes will rightly be focused on Newbury on Saturday. We shouldn’t forget that Newcastle also has hosts a good jumps card on Saturday. The feature race is the Grade 1 Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle (3:15) and there’s also the Listed Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Handicap Chase (2:05).
The ITV cameras are covering three races live from Newcastle, in addition to five from Newbury.
The going at Newcastle is being described as good. It’s set to be mainly dry up there until Friday evening but there could be 12mm of rain before racing.
Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m
Just seven were left in the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle on Monday and with ante post second favourite, Aintree Grade 1 juvenile winner Monmiral a likely to non-runner on account of the ground we are looking at six runners for Newcastle’s big race. That said just 57 have run in the last ten running’s of the race so it’s not a race that attracts a big field.
That leaves last year’s winner Epatante in with a great chance of back-to-back wins. The mare is the evens favourite with Coral & Ladbrokes and those odds will looks good if Monmiral doesn’t run and she’s like to off 1/2 on the day, especially as she handled good ground very effectively 12 months ago. The mare is 4-4 when returning from a 90+ day layoff so a lack of fitness shouldn’t beat her Her trainer Nicky Henderson form figures in the race are 2121121.
Silver Streak did beat an underperforming Epatante in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton last December and was carried out at the second in this race last year. The 8-year-old looked a bit rusty when a 3 ½ length runner-up to Sceau Royal on his seasonal return last month. Sceau Royal has since gone onto win again at Wincanton and is a likely runner. However, he was put firmly in his place in last year’s race. I fancy that Silver Streak can finish ahead of his old rival on Saturday.
Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Handicap Chase (Listed Race) – 2m 7 ½ f
Twenty runners were left in the Rehearsal Handicap Chase on Monday. Although given the ground I don’t think it’s likely we’ll see anywhere near that number meeting the starter especially given the last ten running’s of the race have seen just 91 compete. Still it looks a competitive renewal albeit not the deepest. It's just a shame that the race takes place on the same day as the Ladbroke Trophy.
Last year the Sandy Thomson trained Yorkhill caused a major shock when winning the race at 66/1. Thomson has this year’s ante post favourite in The Ferry Master (5/1) and he also seems likely to saddle Dingo Dollar (12/1). Both are previous C&D winners and both looked like they would come on for their recent seasonal returns They give the trainer a strong hand in the race.
Hold That Thought made a winning seasonal return at Carlisle. He’s up 7lb for that success but he’s only a six-year-old and is capable of better. However. his best form has come on much softer ground. Trainer Venetia Williams saddled Otago Trail to win this in 2016 and has also had two thirds in the race.
Aye Right was finishing runner-up in last year’s Ladbroke Trophy. Ground will be fine for the 8-year-old and he will be sharper for his Kelso seasonal reappearance over an inadequate 2m 1f.
Thurles hosts the valuable race of the day in the Listed BetVictor Chase (1.05). Sadly, the good ground means we won’t be seeing Al Boum Photo make his seasonal return. Just four stand their ground.
There’s also jumps cards at Lingfield and Taunton and all-weather fixtures at Wolverhampton and Chelmsford.
4:35 – Saleymm looked a useful prospect when making a winning all-weather debut at Chelmsford two weeks ago. He could be very well treated on his handicap debut, off a mark of 87. With the step up to a mile expected elicit even more improvement in the 3-year-old.
On A Session holds no secrets from the handicapper. But has proved a mostly consistent handicapper since joining David Barron stable. The 5-year-old put in arguably a seasonal best when a ½ length 4th of 11 at Musselburgh last month. This will be his first start on the all-weather since he finished a ½ length 2nd of 13 over C&D in March. Provided the all eight runners stand their ground. He looks each way value of the race and the one most likely take advantage should the favourite underperform.
On A Session – 11/2 @ Bet365
Good luck with your Thursday bets.