An interesting day of racing with the better quality to be found at Newbury and Warwick. The other turf meeting of the day at Uttoxeter appears to have cornered the market in Class 4 races, with all seven on the card being of that standard.
We are concentrating on two races from Newbury. The official going is soft/good to soft in places. Very similar to that reported by Sandown last Saturday, which proved to be generous as many toiled in the testing ground. I understand why tracks don’t want to deter connections from pulling out, but for the serious backers it is not helpful.
With rain widespread across the country I will be getting up to date going reports direct from contacts at the tracks prior to making my betting decisions before briefing clients at lunchtime.
1.50 3m Betfair Cash Out Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-145)
Barters Hill’s reappearance after a fourteen month absence is of significant interest.
A leading novice hurdler in 2015/16, he was pulled up on his chase debut when last seen on the track.
He has done plenty of work in preparation for today. If retaining his ability he is very favourably handicapped.
The Eaglehaslanded also returns from a long absence.
He has been dropped a few pounds in the handicap since last seen. Conditions will suit and I expect him to go well.
With the horses that have recent form all looking beatable it is a difficult race to price with confidence.
The two returners make the most appeal.
3.35 2m½f Betfair Hurdle (Handicap) (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)
The maximum twenty four declared for this valuable handicap. With over £150,000 prize money on offer it ensures that the respective trainers will have made all preparations to bring their horses here with a fighting chance.
As the betting suggests it is wide open. I will highlight five horses that are expected to run big races.
Current 9/1 favourite Irish Roe has to be considered. She continues to progress and in theory gets into today’s race very favourably handicapped. However, I’m not sure that her latest form can be taken at face value and her chance is reflected in the market.
Misterton comes into this race of the back of his best performance. Conditions are fine and further improvement is anticipated. 20/1 is fair.
Waterlord disappointed on latest start after impressing when winning previously. This will be his first run in a handicap with a return to his earlier form expected. Presently on offer between 16/1 and 20/1.
And finally two further down the betting list, both available at a general 40/1. Don’t be put off by the price, they are worthy of consideration.
Divin Bere is Paul Nichols sole runner. He shaped much better than his finishing position suggests on reappearance. His Cheltenham and Aintree form from last season puts him in with a live chance at big odds.
Nietzsche is another I can make a case for at big odds. A strong run, big field race will suit. Last season’s form ties in with Divin Bere.
The recent radical changes in the weather have been a dominant factor as seen by the abandonment of all jump meetings on Wednesday. However, the overarching theme of this winter has been prolonged testing ground. It is a time to circumspect in your betting. This week we have had just four bets producing two winners at 6/4 and 3/1.
2018 Cheltenham Festival
We are now just over four weeks away from the start of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival. I will once again be providing the Cheltenham preview and membership package with all funds going to support the stable staff.
The preview and a special ten day membership is now available at: http://www.slh.co.uk/2018-cheltenham-special/
The advance price is £25. Click on the link for more details.