The temptation is to kick off the Saturday preview with the Ladbrokes Trophy, however common readers can in all probability guess what’s coming there – or can they? – however I’m going to progress in chronological order on ITV’s 4 Newbury races.
It’s all the time a contact cleaner like that I really feel, and it’s significantly welcome when the entire terrestrial contests are aggressive handicaps. In reality, the 16-runner 2m6f handicap chase at 13:15, earlier than ITV come on air, is one other cracker, too.
But first up for this column is the 2m4f118yd handicap hurdle at 13:50 through which Hang In There appears decidedly overpriced at 15.014/1 or larger on the change.
Emma Lavelle and 3lb claimer Ben Jones mixed for a winner at Taunton on Thursday and I feel they have a lot better probabilities of one other winner right here than 16/1+ quotes recommend.
In reality, he’s the guess of the day at the value. And he would stay so at 10/1 and upwards, on the change and on the Sportsbook (where he is currently a 14/1 poke, and 4 locations can be found if you would like to facet with him each-way).
Hoping for a return to front-running techniques
Okay, Hang In There could have overwhelmed solely three of his 13 rivals in his two begins this season, however there was promise in each outings and the handicapper appears to have been overly-generous (hopefully, anyway) in dropping him 5lb.
We might know our destiny early right here, as I need see the horse revert to the front-running techniques that served him so nicely final season. I do not suppose we have seen him at his greatest by being held up to date this time period, and the gentle floor he has encountered in all probability hasn’t helped him both.
He was spectacular when making all to beat the next-time-out winner and 135-rated Getaway Fred at Exeter final season, and he once more led from flag fall to successful put up when profitable in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham final November.
And, but once more, he was operating a very good race (although simply headed and overwhelmed at the time) when forcing it and coming down two out within the Sidney Banks received by Shishkin at Huntingdon.
Given the MO of these performances, you have to assume his first two outings this season have been sighters for a prize additional down the road.
Hopefully, this one.
He appears a very nicely handicapped horse off 136 on final 12 months’s exploits, and it seems Lavelle believes this horse might choose this higher floor, too (she was anxious in regards to the gentle floor when he received at Cheltenham as he’s a “real easy mover”).
As regards the 2m4f journey right here, you possibly can argue which may be a difficulty if this eager kind does go exhausting up entrance. But his pedigree strongly hints that 2m4f+ will go well with (he’s a half-brother to a 3m4f Cork National winner) and certainly he was solely simply overwhelmed 3/4 -length in a 24-runner maiden hurdle over 2m4f at Fairyhouse when skilled in Ireland.
He does have a couple of attainable tempo rivals to cope with right here – On The Wild Side and Howling Milan – and Tea Clipper is a worthy favorite (if getting fairly brief now) however I actually just like the minimize of his jib, and shall be backing him accordingly.
Marie’s not so Rock strong in sturdy handicap
I do not thoughts admitting that I let loose a honest few expletives upon listening to that Marie’s Rock was dominated out of final season’s Cheltenham Festival, as I had backed her at 12s, 10s and 8s within the speedy aftermath of her massively spectacular Taunton success final December, and he or she was set to go off at least half these odds.
Whether she would have received, we’ll by no means know – possibly not, given the way in which Concertista completely gagged up – however I reckon she is a good bit higher than her mark of 141, and I’m in no mad rush to oppose her within the Gerry Feilden at 14:25.
By the identical token, I’m actually not flattening any doorways to again her at round 6/4 both, as I did not significantly like all I noticed in her racecourse gallop at Newbury final week – however possibly we’re all greatest off ignoring these, eh? – and the very fact she has additionally had a wind op since we final noticed her hints at a difficulty in that division as nicely.
Furthermore, there are loads in right here which you can fancy in opposition to her – that is a very sturdy handicap – and Milkwood has apparent each-way potentialities at 6/1+ given the way in which the type of his Welsh Champion Hurdle fourth has labored out, left proper and centre (the winner, third and fifth received subsequent time, and the runner-up completed second within the Greatwood).
But I’ll go away the race alone, and are available to the large one at 15:00.
Very large run on the playing cards if all the things falls Right
And, sure, my vote within the race does certainly go to Aye Right at 11.010/1 or bigger.
I backed him at 25/1 each-way for this race instantly after his Charlie Hall third to Cyrname and Vinndication, and I see no purpose not to put him up right here, with 10/1+ a completely respectable win-only value. I really suppose he has the look of a drifter, so you could get larger on Saturday.
He clearly has a lot of scope for additional progress as a 7yo having had simply the 5 begins over fences, but it surely might be that a copy of that Wetherby third final time in opposition to that a lot increased rated pair shall be ample to take this prize.
I used to be anticipating him to go up within the area of 7lb for that much-improved efficiency, so being raised 4lb was a actual consequence for connections, and he’ll have these all in hassle from an early stage if getting on the entrance finish and leaping in addition to he did at Wetherby. He was just about foot-perfect there, quick and nimble.
This is a horse with loads of tempo (his Kelso second on his return over 2m1f clearly labored out nicely with the winner taking the Old Roan subsequent time up) and the 3m2f journey is an unknown, however this appears set to be extra of a take a look at of pace than stamina this 12 months within the anticipated drying situations (i.e. good floor) and his report on that going reads 31624111.
If he can get into a rhythm close to the lead – and admittedly there are a few others in right here who like to be up there, equivalent to Secret Investor – then I feel a very large run is on the playing cards.
It is the sort of race you’re totally justified in placing up, and backing, two or three, however the counter-argument is that there are just too many options to select from.
Potterman will love the bottom, and possibly the longer journey, and is 5lb well-in on his Wincanton second, whereas the world and their associate have been ready to facet with Cloth Cap when he will get these situations once more, and the first-time cheek items might be the lacking piece in his successful jigsaw.
But the checklist of possibles simply goes on and on – Two For Gold can be subsequent up – so I’ll simply park it there, and follow simply the one play in Aye Right.
Falling mark has tempted me again in
I used to be going to go away it there for Newbury as a complete however I can not resist one final go at Marracudja at 21.020/1 or larger within the 2m handicap chase at 15:35.
His three runs this season might nicely sign that he’s a 9yo firmly on the downslope now, however the handicapper has dropped him 10lb for these, they usually have not all been with out a modicum of benefit, particularly first time up at Chepstow.
This is a horse who was rated 154 after a 7 ½-length third in a Clarence House to Grade 1 horses lower than a 12 months in the past, and he’s already down to a mark of simply 139 5 begins later.
They determined to ditch the latest hold-up techniques and take a look at to go from the entrance once more at Ascot final time, which was a curious transfer given the race had stacks of tempo in it, and he was rapidly on the back-foot.
Quite what the techniques shall be right here now Bridget Andrews replaces a 7lb claimer, I’m not so positive, however I’m paying to discover out at 20/1+ off this mark.
Weak favorite within the Grade 1 Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle
Over to Newcastle, and the truth that simply seven of the ten five-day entries have stood their floor clearly takes the each-way shine off the Betfair Fighting Fifth at 14:05.
But the betting characteristic of this race within the final 24 hours has been the weak point in Epatante, who presently trades at 2.245/4, having been as brief as 1/2 and 4/7 earlier within the week, when there have been three extra horses within the betting.
That suggests somebody expects her to want this beautiful badly, however markets can and do change in a short time when the liquidity arrives close to the off, so I would not set an excessive amount of retailer in that drift.
However, she would not face a simple process (even when she has 10lb in hand on official figures), as she meets three rivals rated 158 and above, and front-blasters Not So Sleepy and final 12 months’s winner Cornerstone Lad might take a few of these out of their consolation zone from an early stage.
Not So Sleepy at 50/1+ on the change in all probability makes probably the most betting enchantment now that is successfully a win-only affair – until, after all you need to lay the favorite at her inflated odds (in all probability not advisable) – as he ran a nice race when fourth within the Cesarewitch final month and regarded so good at Ascot final season, however it’s one other race I can watch, and never guess in.
Not So Sleepy can be my thought of the very best guess for those who wished a very small curiosity, although he clearly has a lot to discover and Epatante is nicely into backable territory now at odds-against.
Lots going for my 10/1 antepost tip
I put up The Butcher Said at 10/1 each-way, 4 locations, for the Betfair Rehearsal Chase at 15:15 in Tuesday’s ante-post column, in order that place may be very wholesome given he’s now underneath half the value (he has been matched at 4.67/2 in reality), with solely 10 runners having been confirmed.
Basically, what I argued there stands true, but it surely clearly bears repeating.
He needs first rate floor, three miles is his journey and I feel he’s pretty handicapped on his first three chase begins, which included two 3m good-ground wins and a slender second over 2m4f at Uttoxeter (the defeat got here in a good time, too).
But it might be his worse chase begin on paper that factors to him being very nicely handled right here.
Of course, his 20-length third to The Big Breakaway at Cheltenham final time isn’t any reflection of what he might have achieved that day, and he fleetingly traded at odds-on (a low of 1.625/8) when coming with a sturdy run rounding the straight, solely to peck badly on touchdown two out.
I do not suppose he would have obtained shut to the winner myself, as The Big Breakaway discovered loads up the straight, but it surely have to be famous that The Butcher Said was giving him 8lb there.
Off a mark of 139, he has a lot going for him, however I feel he has hit his right value now, and he could even drift out to 6/1+.
I concern the Nicky Henderson pair, each of whom will love the bottom, and the progressive Whatmore, so I’m not going to advocate a contemporary guess, and can depend on the three Newbury punts.
Best of luck.