WE’VE teamed up with BetVictor and Chjarlie McCann to preview the weekend’s big races.
A cracking card at Newbury on Saturday with the feature the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle. This can go to Donald McCain’s Clondaw Kaempfer who has looked top class in both starts over hurdles since joining the yard following his success in a valuable Fairyhouse bumper back in the spring.
It represents a step up in class but that can also be said of all his main rivals with Nicky Henderson’s Golden Hoof a fascinating contender with the Lambourn yard in such good form.
Golden Hoof will be stepping up in trip having won both hurdle starts over the minimum distance; he looks the sort who we won’t see the best of until he goes over fences but anything the handler saddles is hugely respected especially at his home track.
Any Given Day is a personal favourite but the grey is returning from a 12 month absence and is unlikely to appreciate heavy ground on his reappearance and I think Salubrious (3.15) can be given another chance to atone for his defeat over a slightly shorter trip here at the beginning of the month.
The selection was reported to be in need of the run when slightly disappointing at Chepstow on his reappearance and bumped into a well handicapped rival when running on last time. Leading conditional Harry Derham takes of a valuable 5lbs and he is taken to give Paul Nicholls a winner.
My Tent Or Yours (3.50) and Puffin Bully are the two best novice hurdlers to my eye this term and the former can maintain his 100% record over timber in Newbury’s finale. I was very taken by the performance of Jezki (6/1 for the Supreme NRFB at BetVictor) at Leopardstown earlier in the week but the selection can take this before taking another step up in grade.
In Ireland Hurricane Fly cannot be opposed in the Istabraq Festival Hurdle for Willioe Mullins. The former Champion Hurdler lost his crown at Cheltenham back in the spring but connections are convinced he wasn’t quite himself that day and he gained a bloodless victory at Punchestown on his reappearance following the last hurdle fall of the ill-fated Go Native.
Look out for Marasonnien over the weekend. The Mullins animal has four entries over New Year and is considered quite a lot better than he showed on his reappearance at Navan.
Another who hols multiple entries but should be followed over the New Year is See What Happens from the stable of Martin Todhunter. He looked a potential improver over the larger obstacles when making his chase debut at Wetherby back in October and, although the form has taken a few knocks since, he can go one better especially if taking the handicap route.
For all your weekend odds check out betvictor.com