Good morning all,
So near, yet so far with Wednesday’s selection Some Reign being beaten a short head at Wetherby.
Hopefully some of you got on Funambule Sivola in the novices’ handicap chase. I thought he jumped superbly throughout the race making light of his opening handicap mark of 112 and has clearly been waiting to jump a fence.
In today’s main piece I have a couple to note at Newbury on Friday. Plus, I have several fancies for today.
Three to note on Friday
3:00 – Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle (Grade 2) – 3m
All eyes on Paisley Park last years winner who hasn’t been seen since disappointing in the Stayers Hurdle at the Festival. If he’s back to his best he will be tough to beat here. It looks a stronger renewal than 12 months ago so he will have to be at his best.
McFabulous has improved with each of his five starts since going hurdling and made an eye-catching return to action to win the Grade 2 Persian War Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow last month. Not surprisingly after the race there were comparison’s with Big Bucks who won this race three times. First run at 3m but he won’t lack for stamina. Big player.
Another potential improver this season is Thyme Hill. The 6-year-old landed the Grade 2 Challow Novices’ Hurdle here last December and then finished 4th of 19 in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival. He was only beaten 1 ½ lengths at the finish and indeed could be considered a little unfortunate not to prevail, as he got squeezed for room at the last. First run for 259-days but he goes well after a layoff.
Lisnagar Oscar caused a 50/1 shock when winning last season’s Stayers Hurdle. He raced like the run was needed when only 4th of 8 at Wetherby last month. A bit to prove in what looks a high-class renewal of the race. Good ground not an issue and we shall find out today if he was a fortunate winner at Cheltenham.
Honest each way bet
Honest Vic was an impressive winner of competitive handicap hurdle at Cheltenham last month. That was his first start over 3m and he certainly improved for the step up in trip. The drying ground has come at the right time for the 7-year-old. It's a big step up in class but gets 6lb from both Paisley Park and Lisnagar Oscar. On Racing Post Ratings (RPR’s) he’s got a better chance than his odds imply and if he’s going to be a contender for the Stayers Hurdle, he’s got to run well here. The 20/1 generally available looks generous to me and I’m hopeful he can get into the places.
There are couple of interesting handicaps on Newbury’s Friday card. Here are a couple of other horses to note:
Dell’ Arca might be an 11-year-old but he’s started the season in tremendous form, winning handicap hurdles at Aintree and over C&D 22-days ago. Goes well on good ground and whilst he’s up 6lb for his last success another win can’t be ruled out. His record at Newbury is 3 wins from 7 runs + 16.50 6 placed with form figures 2251131. He runs in the 3m handicap hurdle at 3:35.
There’s a competitive 2m 4f handicap chase (2:25). Oldgrangewood won this race in 2017 and last year and made a solid return to action when 4th of 12 in the Old Roan Handicap Chase at Aintree. He races off a career high mark but won’t be far away again.
The 2019 renewal was won by the Venetia Williams trained Aso and she’s got Cepage entered. The 8-year-old has got top-weight to carry but has a touch of class about him. A winner at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, off 1lb lower. He ran well for a long way when 7th of 24 in the 3m 1f Ultima Handicap Chase at the Festival. Only fading after the last. First run since March but his form figures when returning from a 180+day break are 1222. Since the start of 2016 Venetia is 4 winners from 11 runners 36% +16.63 6 placed 55% with her handicap chasers at Newbury sent off 10/1 and under.
If you want my final weekend selections for Newbury, Newcastle and Fairyhouse, you can get a week of my tips and big race analysis for £7 here.
Not the classiest days racing but I have a fair few fancies both on the all-weather and over the jumps. Hopefully there's a winner or two among them
6:00 – Australis has yet to finish out of the first two on his five starts on the all-weather. Runner-up in the Northumberland Plate. He’s two from two at Chelmsford, including C&D. You can forgive his last run when tailed off in the Cesarewitch (0-9 on turf). Will take the beating back on the synthetics.
1:41 – Charlie Hills doesn’t have many National Hunt runners but he runs High Change in the 2m ½ f handicap hurdle. A winner of a Ffos Las bumper last Summer (good) and has shown promise on his three starts in maiden/novice hurdle company. Looks on a workable mark for his handicap debut and gets the first-time blinkers today.
2:41 – Dave And Bernie won on his debut for trainer Oliver Signy at Ludlow (good) 35-days ago. Up 5lb, in a better race but looks capable of following up, if staying 2m 3f. Goes well on a sound surface and is 2-6 over hurdles.
1:03 – Venetia Williams provided the column with a novices’ handicap chase winner yesterday. Her horses are going well and although her runner Snuff Box remains a maiden after seven starts over fences, his sole career win over hurdles came on heavy. Drop back to 2m 4f should suit and he’s gone well fresh in the past.
3:03 – I don’t think there’s a yard in better form than that of Sam Thomas. In the past 28-days he’s had 6 winners from 14 runners 43% +24.96 11 placed 80%. He sends one to Lingfield today in La Reine Poutine. Related to five winners over jumps. The mare showed ability in two starts in two bumpers last season and should be capable of winning over hurdles.
Can I end the week with a winning nap? Out of the five, I have gone with:
2:41 – Dave And Bernie – 5/1 – Gen.
Good luck with your Thursday bets.