ITV4 have live coverage of six races from Newbury and Warwick today, which include some potentially very informative contests with Cheltenham in mind.
However, small fields mean decent betting opportunities are few and far between.
The exception is the Betfair Hurdle, where 16 runners go to post. It isn’t as competitive a renewal as usual and the ground will play a key part. There’s no telling how it will ride with the course having endured rain, snow and frost in recent days.
Ballyandy has been all the rage in the market recently and he certainly looks very well treated based on his outstanding bumper form from last season. The value has gone now, however, although he may be worth backing to win to cover your stakes on a few at bigger prices.
Our shortlist of those at double figure prices was made up of Veinard, Song Light, Zubayr, De Name Escapes Me and Kayf Blanco.
Of the two Irish raiders, we narrowly prefer DE NAME ESCAPES ME, who looks slightly less exposed than Veinard. He has been off the track for a while, but has gone well when fresh in the past and Aiden Coleman is starting to build up a fruitful relationship with JP McManus.
It was also a close call between Zubayr and Song Light, but we have again plumped for the more lightly raced sort in ZUBAYR. He impressed everyone when winning a Grade 2 at Kempton on his UK debut for Paul Nicholls, but then found the Triumph Hurdle a step too far. He is still relatively inexperienced, but his effort behind Footpad at Auteuil in May suggested he had a big race in him over hurdles and he should be able to handle the ground however soft it is.
Finally, at a massive price, we can’t resist adding KAYF BLANCO to our portfolio as he has run a number of good races in these big field handicaps recently. At 8 years old he may not be improving, but his yard is in good form and he looks overpriced at 33/1 with Sky Bet, who offer 5 places.
|De Name Escapes Me (ew)||3.35 Newbury||16/1||Bet365|
|Zubayr (ew)||3.35 Newbury||14/1||Bet365|
|Kayf Blanco (ew)||3.35 Newbury||33/1||Sky Bet|
Betfair Denman Chase
Earlier on the card BRISTOL DE MAI and Native River clash in the Denman Chase and we really fancy the former to come out on top. He was so impressive at Haydock last time out and may have more of a turn of foot in what will inevitably be a tactical affair given the very small field.
|Bristol De Mai (win)||2.25 Newbury||5/4||Bet365|
The Game Spirit Chase
There’s another small field in the Game Spirit and hot favourite Altior may be vulnerable in this horrible ground. We’d suggest backing both FOX NORTON and TRAFFIC FLUIDE to beat him with 4/1 and 7/1 respectively available about the pair. If either wins you will still come out with a nice profit.
|Fox Norton (win)||3.00 Newbury||4/1||Bet365|
|Traffic Fluide (win)||3.00 Newbury||7/1||Bet365|
Kingmaker Novices’ Chase
It is hard to find a decent bet at Warwick, where the ground could be even worse than at Newbury. On that basis, the odd shock may be in the offing and one horse who could outrun his monster price is CHIC NAME in the Kingmaker.
He has plenty to find on the book, but he gets weight from all his rivals and, crucially, seems to be at his best when conditions are at their worst. His only win over hurdles came here.
|Chic Name (ew)||2.40 Warwick||40/1||Bet365|