Archive for the ‘ ladbrokes ’ Category

30 Sep
2016

No Need To ‘Er’ On The Side Of Caution

Superb racing is the order of the day wherever you look this weekend, one which encompasses the Arc at its temporary home at Chantilly, plus valuable domestic cards at Ascot and Newmarket.

The latter of those features the highly enticing Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes, the £250,000 fillies and mares mile contest, set to be run at 4.00pm on Saturday.

A field of nine includes visitors from France and South Africa, with the three strong Gallic contingent headed by Jean-Claude Rouget’s three-time Group 1 scorer, Ervedya.

Aided by the fitting of a first-time pair of sheepskin cheekpieces, she returns to racing against her own sex for the first time this season, looking to build on solid efforts at Royal Ascot and Deauville.

Rouget has been successful with three of his last five runners at home, and British and Irish punters are also familiar with his skills, as the Sun Chariot falls just three weeks after his Almanzor turned on the style to win Leopardstown’s Irish Champion Stakes.

Ervedya is overdue a win this season, and she can see off her compatriots as well as Aidan O’Brien’s talented but inconsistent Alice Springs.

Meanwhile, they go over the sticks at Fontwell, where the ultra-consistent, front-runner, Gowanauthat, might be able to bag another win for the Charlie Mann/Harry Bannister combination.

Top weight won’t make it easy for the horse who saw his five race winning spree ended at Worcester eight days ago, but even then he ran a gallant race to be second, and he continues to thrive on his racing.

His winning run might not have too much juice left in it, but this small field looks ideal for a horse who likes to try and boss affairs, and coming up against three rivals returning from a layoff this might be a shrewd choice of race (3.30pm).

Former course and distance winner, Gowanauthat, is 9/4 with the Betfair Sportsbook.

Lastly, Fontwell’s 2m 5f conditional jockeys’ handicap chase (4.40pm) looks a great opportunity for a young rider to achieve a career milestone, with in-form trainer Neil Mulholland giving young Jordan Canavan a fine chance aboard Highbury High.

Up six pounds for his win at Warwick 11 days ago, this gives him a solid chance to record back-to-back wins, and in doing so get his novice rider up and running.

Chief market rival Unify looks worth taking on, appearing under a penalty just four days after winning.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

3.30 Fontwell – Southern Water Handicap Chase – 1 Gowanauthat (win) @ 9/4 (Betfair Sportsbook)

4.00 Newmarket – Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes – 3 Ervedya (win) @ 4/1 (bet365, BetVictor, Betway, Hills or Ladbrokes)

4.40 Fontwell – Cappagh Utilities Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase – 1 Highbury High (win) @ 2/1 (BetVictor)

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Posted 11 months, 4 weeks ago

09 Sep
2016

In The Sheikh Up At Donny

The 250th running of the £100,000 Doncaster Cup (3.40pm), the stayers’ Grade 2, is the focal point of this afternoon’s card at Town Moor, a quality day’s racing in itself, but also a handy aperitif for what promises to be a spectacular weekend of sport in both Britain and Ireland.

First though, we need to try and unearth a diamond from the assembled field of nine for today’s race, in which the bookies make Roger Charlton’s Quest For More their market leader.

The blinkered winner of York’s Lonsdale Cup, he hasn’t always been the most reliable conveyance, and it ought to be remembered that in the Goodwood Cup on his penultimate outing, he was only sixth, behind third-placed Sheikhzayedroad.

At double his odds the latter hints at being the value alternative today, coming here off the back of that fine third in the Goodwood Cup, as well as filling the same position behind Order Of St George in the Ascot Gold Cup.

Rated 113, he’s only 1lb behind the favourite on figures, and is a guaranteed stayer with no quirks.

Trainer David Simcock continues to fire in the winners, and his contender here looks attractively priced at the 6/1 available with either bet365 or Ladbrokes.

Good luck!

Today’s best bet at Doncaster:

3.40 – Doncaster Cup – 7 Sheikhzayedroad (each way) @ 6/1 (bet365 or Ladbrokes)

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Posted 1 year ago

17 Aug
2016

York Day One Tips

All roads lead to the Knavesmire here in sunny York, with day one of the always keenly-anticipated Ebor Meeting upon us.

If affordable champagne, top notch Flat racing, big crowds and tricky betting heats are your bag then this is the place to be without question.

The opening card of the four day fixture has the look of a bookmaker’s day, but the way to attack it could be to target a couple of big-priced fancies in the feature races…

Rated 120 and placed in both the English and Irish Derby, you’d have to respect Aidan O’Brien’s Idaho in the Great Voltigeur at 3.05pm, the horse who the firms make just 4/1 for next month’s St Leger.

He’s odds on to take today’s audition for that contest by the scruff of the neck, but there could be value in opposing him today with 10/1 chance Imperial Aviator.

Trained by in-form Roger Charlton, who has notched three winners from his last 11 runners, Imperial Aviatior steps up in trip here after a break, trying his hand at Group 2 company after a failed experiment in the French Derby.

To be fair he was completely unsuited by the Soft ground at Chantilly, and as a son of star performer Paco Boy, is much better judged on what he can achieve on today’s surface, Good to Firm.

His father was unbeaten on that going description, including a brace of Group 1’s.

As for Imperial Aviator, he was unbeatable at a lower level in the spring, seeing Ulysses at Leicester, before turning on the style in a red-hot three-year-old handicap at Newbury in May.

This demands far more, but he could have lots of improvement to come at a mile and a half, and he looks generously priced at 10/1 with any of bet365, Boyle, Hills or Ladbrokes.

The big ones comes around at 3.40pm, with the big money Juddmonte International attracting a glittering field of 13.

Trying to attain a sixth win on the bounce, Roger Varian’s Postponed is hot favourite for this, but he has to prove he’s as potent at a mile and a quarter as he is at a mile and a half, and at more than four times his price there could be value in chancing your arm with the William Haggas-trained Mutakayyef.

Drastically improved since being gelded in the winter, this son of Sea The Stas looks more than ready for a tilt at a top level prize, winning both of his starts this year.

Haggas could barely be having a better season, firing in winners left, right and centre, and in Mutakayyef he has a horse who could net him a huge prize.

He looked great last time out at Ascot, and goes really well here any York.

Back him each way at a general 8/1.

Good luck!

Wednesday’s best bets at York:

3.05 – Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes – 5 Imperial Aviator (each way) @ 10/1 (bet365, Boyles or Ladbrokes)

3.40 – Juddmonte International Stakes – 7 Mutakayyef (each way) @ 8/1 (bet365, Betfred, BetVictor or Betway)

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Posted 1 year, 1 month ago

29 Dec
2015

Taylor Made For A Grey Day

A pair of Grade 1’s in the shape of the Neville Hotels Novice Chase (1.55pm) and the Ryanair Hurdle (2.30pm) usher in the fourth and final day here at Leopardstown, with the track set to be hit by some fairly rough weather for the denouement of its great Christmas fixture, the best of which you’ll see live with us on RTE2.

Both feature just four runners, with Drinmore winner No More Heroes a best price 2/5 to extend his winning sequence over fences to three in the former, while a little later it’s Nichols Canyon, the only horse to have beaten runaway Christmas Hurdle winner Faugheen, who is no bigger than 1/2 to claim his sixth Grade 1 prize.

That means opportunities are probably limited, especially with the ground riding Heavy, so we’ll look further afield for the day’s sole recommendation, to Doncaster and their two mile Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (1.10pm).

Six go to post for this, featuring some promising types such as Donald McCain’s Katachenko, who won a messy race at Wetherby on Charlie Hall Chase day, but couldn’t follow up off a pound higher next time out – he’ll have to pull out more having gone up another four pounds here.

Charlie Longsdon’s Long Lunch travelled beautifully through his race at Sandown last time out, just fading late on, suggesting today’s drop back in trip could be a huge asset, while former Imperial Cup hero Baltimore Rock can surely play a hand if fit and ready to roll on his first try over fences, reappearing as he does after a 262-day absence.

However, perhaps the one with the least question marks is Brian Ellison’s runner, The Grey Taylor.

He has the assistance of jockey Richard Johnson, as the Herefordshire man blazes a trail towards a double century of winners for the season, currently motoring along on 167.

The Grey Taylor was a very useful hurdler, winning two of five starts, and going off at 5/1 for Kemtpon’s prestigious Dovecote Novice’s Hurdle back in February.

It’s over fences though that he has the potential to be even better, a school of thought encouraged by October’s pillar to post win over the larger obstacles at Carlisle.

Confidence is high after that, and Ellison has his string in great nick, firing in five winners from his last 17 runners.

Good luck!

Tuesday’s best bet:

1.10 Doncaster – betdaq.com Novices’ Ltd Handicap Chase – 2 The Grey Taylor (win) @ 9/4 (bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Ladbrokes or Paddy Power)

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Posted 1 year, 9 months ago

04 Dec
2015

A ‘Special’ Sandown Day In Store

Outstanding racing around the country means Saturday ought to be a day for Jumps racing enthusiasts to savour, with two races over the National fences at Aintree, as well as Sandown Park’s Tingle Creek card.

On a day where a single winning Scoop6 ticket could take home a cool million pounds, arguably the biggest draw is Sandown’s Grade 1 two mile feature (3.00pm), in which a dead eight will have each way tongues wagging.

The Paul Nicholls-trained Vibrato Valtat, winner of a Grade 1 Novices’ Chase on this card 12 months ago, tops the market off the back of his impressive reappearance win in Exeter’s Haldon Gold Cup.

Pressing him at the front of the market is comeback kid Simonsig, a dual Cheltenham Festival winner who returned to the track for the first time in more than two and a half years when second to stablemate Bobs Worth last month.

That Aintree run came over hurdles, but this former Arkle winner is unbeaten over fences and commands great respect, with Barry Geraghty released from his retainer with JP McManus to take the ride.

The 11-year-old Somersby benefits from the services of Nina Carberry in the saddle, trying to add to his second placed finishes last season in both this race and the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Also in there trying to repeat previous good form is bang in-form Gary Moore’s Sire De Grugy.

Moore, on target with a big-priced treble at Sandown on Friday, believes he has the 2013 Tingle Creek and 2014 Queen Mother winner in flying form.

However, at 5/1 with a number of bookmakers maybe the one to pin our hopes on is the sole Irish runner in the field, Henry de Bromhead’s Special Tiara.

Fit from a run to blow away the cobwebs at Navan, the eight-year-old is one who might still be improving, plus his visits to the UK have been fruitful.

He showed his liking for Sandown Park when surging clear in April’s Grade 1 Celebration Chase, having already won Kempton’s Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase last Christmas.

It’s worth remembering he had three of his rivals here in rear when easily taking the Celebration, the ground won’t be a cause for concern, and de Bromhead is in form, winning Newcastle’s Fighting Fifth hurdle with his only UK runner last weekend.

Away from the track, anyone looking for a football wager might consider Premier League surprise package Leicester, as the Foxes travel to out of sorts Swansea.

The better side against Manchester United last Saturday, they’ve got Jamie Vardy up front looking to snatch the Premier League record for scoring in consecutive games, while in Riyad Mahrez they’ve got a silky midfielder who can help them grab three points on the road.

They look very fairly priced at 7/4 with either bet365 or BetVictor.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bet at Sandown Park:

3.00 – Betfair Tingle Creek Chase – 6 Special Tiara (win) @ 5/1 (bet365, BetVictor, Ladbrokes or Paddy Power)

3.00 kick-off in the Premier League – Leicester to win at Swansea – 7/4 with either bet365 or BetVictor

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Posted 1 year, 9 months ago

12 Sep
2015

Can They Reel In Rank Outsider In Vintage Irish Champion?

A headline total of 27 millimetres of rain fell at Leopardstown overnight leaving the outer track, upon which today’s Group 1 QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes will be run, officially Yielding (Good in places).

Regrettably, that has to place significant doubt around the participation of four-time Group 1 winner Gleneagles (five if you count the Grand Criterium in which he was disqualified), for whom the ground needs to be Good or quicker for him to take his place in a truly stellar line-up.

All eight are winners at the top level, and it wouldn’t really be a surprise if any of the field were to rise to the top this afternoon.

For even occasional racing fans it has the look of the unmissable, and you’ll see it all live with us on RTE2 from 5.00pm.

French visitor Cirrus Des Aigles boasts a CV that contains no less than seven Group 1’s and £6.1m in prize money, Dermot Weld’s Free Eagle is rich with promise, trained specifically for this race and a dual course winner, last year’s hero The Grey Gatsby returns to try and become only the second ever dual winner of this contest, the mighty Golden Horn is in town trying to both add to his Epsom Derby and Eclipse successes and repair the minor dent to his reputation after being shot down at York last time out, while the three-year-old fillies Found and Pleascach are both carved from the sought-after material reserved for champions.

Only one can win though, and with the ground changing and some of that brigade either short of match practice (Free Eagle and Cirrus) or coming here off the back of very hard runs (Golden Horn), might it be that we could be in for an almighty shock?

In another year Aidan O’Brien’s apparent third string, Highland Reel, could very well be prominent in the betting for this race, such is the strength of his form, but in 2015 he’s dismissed as a 25/1 outsider. Crazy.

Consider that he made all in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes in America last time, displaying an impressive turn of foot to run away with the race.

However, he proved when winning the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in 2014 that he could also be ridden with much more restraint, something that gives big race jockey Emmet MCNamara options.

Second in the French Derby on Good to Soft, we know the ground won’t be an issue, and proven over a mile and a half as well there are no lingering stamina doubts.

McNamara could be gifted an easy lead, a very dangerous plan for a horse who has electric speed.

Official ratings leave him with plenty to do, but 25/1 is an insult to a horse of this proven quality, and I’ll be backing him each way to leave Leopardstown stunned.

Later in the day the Group 2 mile Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes will also be run on the outer circuit (6.50pm), on ground that will enhance the chances of dual course and distance scorer Custom Cut.

This 117-rated Notnowcato gelding won’t have crossed the Irish sea just for fun, and is trained by David O’Meara, who’s operating at a 29% strike-rate in Ireland since 2010.

Custom Cut rarely runs a bad race and could have measure of his seven rivals.

Good luck!

Today’s best bets:

5.45 Leopardstown – QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes – 6 Highland Reel (each way) @ 25/1 (bet365, Betfred or Paddy Power)

6.50 Leopardstown – Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes – 2 Custom Cut (win) @ 4/1 (BetVictor, Ladbrokes or William Hill)

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Posted 2 years ago

30 Jul
2015

Shark Attack Feared In Galway

One of Irish racing’s best-loved and most instantly recognisable characters could be about to take centre stage at packed to the rafters Galway today, as County Carlow-based John Hanlon, far better known simply as ‘The Shark’, arrives in the wild west armed with a strong and intriguing challenge for today’s €300,000 Guinness Galway Hurdle (4.45pm, live on RTE1), courtesy of stable star Hidden Cyclone.

The 10-year-old Stowaway gelding has done his charismatic trainer proud, winning 12 races in all including five of his six outings over hurdles.

What’s more, he’s been readied for his big day with a fluent win on the Flat at Leopardstown, a smoother than smooth performance during which he never remotely left his comfort zone.

You can be 100% certain he will have to this afternoon though, as the proven quality and younger legs of the likes of Quick Jack, Diakali and Thomas Edison put it up to him.

However, the ratings case for Hidden Cyclone couldn’t be any more plain….the horse who has consistently boxed against the heavyweights over fences is rated 158 in that code, plus has as recently as February won a Grade 2 Chase.

Over hurdles however he is much more favourably assessed, seeking to exploit a mark over the smaller obstacles of just 137.

Factor in the three pound claim of Brian Hayes and you can see exactly why he’s an attractive proposition, under a feather weight, at the 8/1 available each way with Boylesports of BetVictor.

He ran well on his only previous experience of Galway (in 2013) and is one to keep on side today.

‘The Shark’ could also enjoy a dream start to the afternoon, with the richly-promising Clondaw Farmer fancied to successfully plough a successful furrow in the Guinness Dublin Porter Beginners Chase, run at 1.50pm.

Placed in a point-to-point, he won his bumper here at Galway a year ago, and then eased through his maiden hurdle at Down Royal without breaking sweat.

He’s up against the frustrating As De Ferbet for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh this afternoon, and can make his winning mentality count.

Good luck!

Thursday’s best bets at Galway:

1.50 – Guinness Dublin Porter Beginners Chase – 2 Clondaw Farmer (win) @ 4/1 (bet365, Betfred, Betvictor, Coral, Ladbrokes or William Hill)

4.45 – Guinness Galway Hurdle – 14 Hidden Cyclone (each way) @ 8/1 (Boylesports of BetVictor)

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Posted 2 years, 1 month ago

09 Apr
2015

The Kingdom & The Glory For McCoy?

They kick-off at 1.40pm with the Manifesto Novices’ Chase, in which the Cheltenham Arkle form gets a rigorous re-examination, with third Josses Hill, fourth Vibrato Valtat, eighth Clarcam and ninth Three Kingdoms all returning to the coal face.

Huge crowds will be wishing perennial Champ AP McCoy well in his final visit to Aintree, and despite riding the least successful strictly in terms of the Arkle placings, he could be on a winner.

The three horses who finished ahead of him 30 days ago all had hard races, but after a mistake down the back he was allowed an easy time of it, coasting home down the field.

Combine that less gruelling visit to the Cotswolds with a flatter track, the step up in trip to two and a half miles, better ground and the McCoy factor, and we have the ingredients for a wager.

The 500lb gorilla which is Un De Sceaux isn’t around to duff them up, and on ratings Three Kingdoms doesn’t have too much to find.

In a race where the market principals may struggle to show their best form Three Kingdoms looks a value play at the 8/1 available with any of bet365, BetVictor or Ladbrokes.

After all, his very best form is on flatter tracks like Kempton Park, Newcastle and Doncaster.

His trainer John Ferguson could have a tasty each way double on his hands in the opening two races, with stablemate Devilment the play in the Grade 1 Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at 2.15pm.

Better ground and a bigger emphasis on speed at this track are also likely to favour him, and though he has 10 lengths to make up on the re-opposing Hargam from the Triumph at Cheltenham, that is far from impossible.

Devilment was very good in winning at Wetherby and Doncaster pre-Cheltenham, and given that Hargam is 8/11 and Devilment is 10/1, it’s worth chancing that the March form can be reversed.

Race three is the Betfred Bowl (2.50), where perhaps surprisingly last year’s winner Silviniaco Conti isn’t favourite, despite also being a dual King George winner on Kempton’s frying pan flat circuit.

You have to respect last year’s Topham winning mare Ma Filleule off the back of her fine Ryanair second, but the reason Silviniaco isn’t top of the pops is because of the presence of rising star Holywell for Jonjo O’Neill and AP McCoy.

Holywell finished three places ahead of Conti in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (when a fine fourth), and that was on ground softer than ideal.

He’s had a relatively light campaign, and as a the younger of the two it’s impossible to forget his dazzling Grade 1 novice win here 12 months ago.

With better ground right up his street and this track his ideal it’s easy to understand why SkyBet make him their 9/4 market leader.

Last but not least, what about a big price upset in the Grade 1 Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle at 3.25pm?

Champion Hurdle second and fourth Arctic Fire and Jezki are likely to command the lion’s share of the attention, along with last year’s runner-up in this race, Rock On Ruby.

The last named is the fresh horse having swerved Cheltenham, but perhaps the danger lurks from one of the young guns, with one of the Nicky Henderson pair Volney De Thaix my suggestion.

Second to Rock On Ruby at Cheltenham in December, he was a fine fifth at the Festival under a massive weight in the Coral Cup, and he certainly looks a possible improver with ground in his favour and David Bass riding out of his skin.

Only two places are available, but despite that I’m on each way. He’s 12’s with any of bet365, Paddy Power or Ladbrokes.

Good luck!

Thursday’s best bets at Aintree:

1.40 – Manifesto Novices’ Chase – 4 Three Kingdoms (each way) @ 8/1 (bet365, BetVictor or Ladbrokes)

2.15 – Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle – 4 Devilment (each way) @ 10/1 (bet365 or Coral)

2.50 – Betfred Bowl Chase – 2 Holywell (win) @ 9/4 (SkyBet)

3.25 – Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle – 7 Volnay De Thaix (each way) @ 12/1 (bet365, Paddy Power or Ladbrokes)

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Posted 2 years, 5 months ago

20 Mar
2015

No Duff Info At Newbury

It’s a seven race Newbury & Kelso double-header with us live on Channel 4 Racing on Saturday afternoon, with a whole heap of talented horses turning out just eight days after the final notes of the Cheltenham Festival were heard sailing off into the distance beyond Cleeve Hill…

To be fair, the locals are probably still finding sozzled racegoers asleep in neighbouring ditches, clutching Placepot tickets and enquiring what’s going to win the Gold Cup.

If you encounter one, tell them “Coneygree!”, after all – we all love a dead cert, and then switch your attention to trying to raise a few quid via this weekend’s sport.

The ground is drying out at both venues, but that hasn’t prevented Newbury in particular from attracting plenty of runners, with the lure of a pair of £40,000 races doing plenty to spike the interest of owners and trainers.

At half that value is the Ultima Business Solutions Silver Jubilee Handicap Chase, run at at 3.10pm and set to be contested by a quality field of 10.

A pair of old boys top the weights, with the 2012 winner of this race Ikorodu Road (then with his former trainer Matt Sheppard), and the 2011 Hennessy hero Carruthers for the Gold Cup-winning Bradstocks trying to serve it up to the younger legs.

AP McCoy will have plenty of fans as he partners hat-trick seeker and former course and distance scorer Financial Climate for Oliver Sherwood, but my worry for him is that even with the Champ on board he has firstly generally struggled to deliver in double figure fields, and secondly he’s on a career high mark of 126.

Perhaps more convincing is still in-form Tom George’s No Duffer.

George hasn’t had a winner for a bit but is still seeing plenty of his string make the frame, as well advertised when 33/1 God’s Own charged into the frame in the Arkle last week.

In No Duffer he has a progressive young stayer who is three from eight over fences, and appears to love this better spring ground.

In fact, he has won three of his last six, and still appears to be moving forward given the authoritative nature of his six length strike at Sandown Park last month.

He stayed on readily up the stiff uphill finish there, firmly suggesting the extra quarter of a mile here ought not be remotely a problem.

Furthermore, the horse he beat into second (Russe Blanc) has since come out and won at Carlisle on Sunday, giving form a further boost.

The old boys aren’t still improving, and though they could roll the clock back the rising force in this race appears to be No Duffer, who is available at 5/1 with Ladbrokes.

We’ll try and initiate a lightning fast quick-fire double for this column, as 15 minutes later they jump off at Kelso for the extended 2m 5f John Smith’s Novices’ Handicap Chase at 3.25pm.

I hope the one to be with is market leader Oscar Rock.

This good looking son of Oscar represents back in-form North Yorkshire trainer Malcolm Jefferson, who has banged in a pair of winners in the past fortnight and could be staring down the barrel of another one here.

Oscar Rock made waves as a bumper horse and as a novice hurdler, but it’s in this sphere that big things are expected, and as a former Point-to-Point winner he came good at the second time of asking over fences last time out, benefitting from the fitting of a pair of blinkers to go in at Newcastle.

Happily the headgear remains on, and he can successfully concede weight to all comers in the hands of Brian Hughes.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

3.10 Newbury – Ultima Business Solutions Silver Jubilee Handicap Chase – 4 No Duffer (win) @ 5/1 (Ladbrokes)

3.25 Kelso – John Smith’s Novices’ Handicap Chase – 1 Oscar Rock (win) @ 2/1 (bet365, Betfred, BetVictor or Coral)

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Posted 2 years, 6 months ago

06 Feb
2015

Big Priced Betfair Hurdle Winner Is No Pipe Dream

Pray the frost covers do their job as we’re in for excitement galore at a sure to be heaving Newbury on Saturday afternoon, with heroes past, present and future on display.

It’s a day a day when we get to enjoy the Denman Chase (2.25pm), a race where they’ll be lead to post by a living legend in the form of the now 15-year-old former Gold Cup hero which it honours, before pitching runaway Grade One Kempton novice winner Coneygree against the more established talents of the likes of Unioniste, Harry Topper and Houblon Des Obeaux when the tapes go up, followed by the elite quality of the Game Spirit Chase at 3.00pm.

Breathless stuff!

That’s a contest that grants us a first glimpse of the 2014/15 campaign of the great Sire De Grugy, a chestnut bulldozer who can jump most steeplechase fences quicker than you or I can blink.

His comeback delayed by injury sustained in November, jockey Jamie Moore reckons he’s as fit as he needs to be do get the job done here, though Dad and trainer Gary Moore is a tiny bit more circumspect when weighing up how he might perform.

He’ll need to be sharp as the reformed Mr Mole is unlikely to give him an easy time, with his trainer Paul Nicholls likely to try and expose any rustiness by sending him off all guns blazing – attack, attack, attack.

Don’t rule out Uxizandre either – the commentator’s nightmare fluffed his line at Leopardstown back at Christmas time, but he’s better than that and Alan King has struck the kind of form that has the yard cat believing he has a 24-hour armed guard, firing in five winners from just 12 runners to the end of play on Wednesday.

Neither really throws up a hugely attractive betting prospect though, so instead keep the powder dry and wait for the massed handicap ranks of the Grade 3, £155,000 Betfair Hurdle, run at 3.35pm and likely to form the sixth and final leg of the Scoop6.

Live with us on Channel 4 Racing, the big handicap test features a maximum field of 24, and with the winner so difficult to find don’t even contemplate investing with a bookmaker who isn’t paying the five places each way.

At the time of writing the extra place concession comes gift-wrapped via the race sponsors, bet365, Paddy Power and Skybet.

They’ll be hoping for a big priced upset, and though my recommendation isn’t 50/1 he is still a highly attractive 16/1 with Ladbrokes, though bear in mind the firms mentioned above are all 14/1 but with the extra place.

Where’s the cash going?

We could plump for half a dozen and still not hit the bullseye in a race as fiercely run as this, but the fun is in trying to solve a puzzle of this complexity, and the one I keep coming back to is one of the David Pipe runners Balgarry.

Labelled a tearaway due to his tendency to race aggressively and pull hard, you should also factor in that despite being eight years of age this will be only his seventh ever run!

Tom Scudamore was able to settle him more effectively last time out when second at Sandown Park, and that second run after a very long (two and a half year) injury absence will hopefully have taken the sting out of him.

Clearly an extremely promising horse, he can make up for lost time by playing a major role.

A course and distance winner at Newbury on his UK debut nearly three years ago, his mark of 137 equates to a promising racing weight of 11 stone exactly, a good thing given that no horse in the last seven runnings has carried more than 11st 2lbs to victory.

Sent off only 8/1 for the Ladbroke Hurdle pre-Christmas, that’s a major pointer to the fact connections believe all or most of his old ability remains, and with an extra run under his belt now could be the time to strike.

This race usually goes to one of the five or six-year-olds, but in terms of his profile Balgarry meets those crtiteria in that he’s lightly raced, nicely weighted and has plenty of scope to improve.

This might be the day he comes good, and a few quid each way might yield a healthy return.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bet at Newbury:

3.35 – Betfair Handicap Hurdle – 16 Balgarry (each way) @ 16/1 with Ladbrokes or 14/1 with bet365, Paddy Power and Skybet (paying out five places each-way)

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Posted 2 years, 7 months ago