BetVictor.com and Charlie McCann with a preview and tips for Saturday’s racing.
The going reports suggest the ground is likely to be extremely testing for the Eider Chase at Newcastle this afternoon with a maximum field of eighteen due to face the starter over four miles.
There is only 13bs between the top weight (Gevrey Chambertin) and bottom weight (Harry The Viking) and we have two former winners of the race Milborough (2015) and Portrait King (2012) again facing the starter. My two against the field are Shotgun Paddy (2.45) and the aforementioned Portrait King with marginal preference for the former who is 6/1 market leader at BetVictor.
Shotgun Paddy finished runner up in this contest from a 5lbs higher mark last season and the handicapper, surprisingly perhaps, has dropped him 2lbs for his last run when third to One For Arthur at Warwick in their National Trial. That form has been franked by the runner up (Goodtoknow) who won at Hereford earlier in the month and I would be disappointed if the Emma Lavelle horse doesn’t go close with the forecast heavy ground ideal.
Portrait King is double the odds of the selection and the 12-year-old Irish raider is another who will be running on when plenty have cried enough – his win in this event came on good ground but he is as effective on a testing surface and his talented conditional jockey takes off a valuable 7lbs.
Vinciaettis (2.10) makes a belated seasonal reappearance for Warren Greatrex but has a history of going well fresh and heavy ground holds no fears. He may not have stayed 2m 4f when a beaten favourite at Huntingdon when last seen back in April and a return to the minimum trip should suit.
Zamby Man is likely to be all the rage for the Novices’ Chase over two miles but I like the chances of The Dutchman (3.20) despite the fact that he is dropping back in trip having fell four out at Wetherby last time when yet to play his hand over three miles. Jockey Danny Cook is excellent from the front and he is likely to try and take the sting out of Zamdy Man although Irish raider Aminabad did make all at Catterick last time.
Mister Springsprong (4.30) looked to be crying out for a stiffer test when third at Catterick last time over two miles and he has been dropped 1lb by the handicapper for that effort. Hat-trick seeking Special Wells and top-weight Ballybolley are others to consider but I will be disappointed if winning pointer Mister Springsprong didn’t go very close to breaking his duck under rules over fences given today’s extra half-mile.
Good ground is forecast at Kempton and Argante (1.15) appreciated the step up in trip when scoring at Fakenham last time. The Nicky Henderson yard are in terrific form and this useful stayer on the flat could be ahead of the handicapper.
Charli Parcs (1.50) created a very favourable impression when giving Master Blueyes 5lbs and a beating over today’s C&D on Boxing Day and he is hard to oppose as connections mull over his Cheltenham Festival options. The juvenile is currently 6/1 at BetVictor for the opening Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (he would receive 8lbs from his elders) and 7/1 for the Triumph Hurdle against fellow four-year-olds.
Reports suggest trainer Nicky Henderson favours taking on his peers while owner JP McManus wants to run in the Supreme and therefore avoid taking on Defi Du Seuil who heads the market and also runs in the famous green and gold McManus silks.
The Betbright Chase is the big betting race at Kempton and the each way recommendation in a wide-open contest is Opening Batsman (3.35) who won this corresponding race from a 7lbs higher mark in 2013 and finished second in this race twelve months ago from an 8lbs higher mark. This is likely to have been the target since he ran a decent race here over the Christmas meeting and leading amateur rider Micky Legg takes off a valuable 5lbs. The selection is 14/1 at BetVictor and that looks a decent each way price.
In the Chepstow opener Bite The Biscuit (1.55) can make a winning hurdling debut for Philip Hobbs while the Venetia Williams trained Bright New Dawn (4.15) can reverse Sandown running with Grey Gold on 4lbs better terms in the valuable two-mile handicap chase.
The Winter Derby at Lingfield is the highlight of the all-weather flat season and I would give Battalion every chance from stall one if he breaks on terms but he has been missing the start of late and preference is for the talented Mutakyyef (3.15).
The selection is just shy of top class on turf and there seems no reason why he won’t be just as effective on today’s polytrack surface for leading Newmarket handler William Haggas. The six-year-old is 11/8 with BetVictor and can give 5lbs and upwards to his nine rivals although stall seven of ten is a slight concern in this competitive Group 3 contest.
For all your racing needs check out BetVictor.com