It’s a really good day’s racing we have in store here, and hopefully we can put the recent bad run behind us. But whilst it’s a good card at Newbury, they’re not great from a betting point of view, so just the one bet for me.
I’ll start off with the Denman Chase (2.25) and what a little contest we have here with Nigel Twiston-Davies and Colin Tizzard more than happy to let their stars clash, and good on them for doing so. Plenty others would’ve pussied out of giving their horses a test like this before the Gold Cup, so fair play to Tizz and Nige. At the time of writing, Native River is best priced EVS, with Bristol De Mai 5/4. In short, I think the market has this one wrong. Yes, Native River is rated 2lb higher, but I think BDM has a lot in his favour here: flat track, soft ground and the trip (2m 7f 86y) will suit him more than it will Native River. Native River will go from the front and BDM will stalk in behind. Before BDM’s Peter Marsh demolition he’d always tried to make all, but at Haydock he was happy to take a lead, and that ultimately lead to him producing his best performance to date by a country mile, improving by a stone. So I can see Bristol De Mai stalking and pouncing between the last 2 fences, and whilst Native River will be very difficult to pass, I just think BDM will be too quick for him.
The Game Spirit (3.00) sees probably the 2nd best 2m chaser in training step into open company for the first time before going back into novice company for his walkover in the Arkle. Altior is currently 4/7, with Fox Norton 7/2 and Traffic Fluide 15/2, whilst Dodging Bullets might as well not bother. When I first looked at this race earlier this week I was keen on Fox Norton as a EW bet to nothing at 4/1. However that was before I realised he’s giving Altior 5lb and Traffic Fluide 10lb, and added to the fact he’s not going to he fully fit after sustaining a cut to his leg and hasn’t run since the Shloer in November. So I think the most likely danger to Altior is Traffic Fluide. But he is coming off a lay off of 385 days since finishing 3rd behind Un De Sceaux and Sire De Grugy in the Clarence House, and whilst he goes well fresh, it’s a huge ask. Altior will be scruffy at a few fences, but will have far too much speed for the others to cope and wins going away by 6 lengths.
Double: Bristol De Mai and Altior @ 2.53/1 with Bet365, SkyBet and William Hill
So the double will be my only bet tomorrow, because whilst there are some otber decent races tomorrow, they just don’t appeal as betting races. High Bridge will probably win the Newbury opener, but do I want to back him at 11/10? No. The Pertemps qualifier is one people aren’t really bothered about winning unless they need to get their mark up, so I don’t particularly like those. Though I would like to see Tobefair carry on his incredible run. The Betfair Hurdle (3.35) I already have my tip up for (Kayf Blanco 40/1 EW for those that missed it on Wednesday). The 4.10 is a messy little race, no EW angle with just the 7 runners, but Lessons In Milan needs to win to have a chance of getting in the National so he may go well. And finally the bumper usually produces a good one, but it’s wide open and nothing appeals at the prices.
Over to Warwick, and it’s just as difficult. The Mares Hurdle (2.05) is a horrible little race and if forced to pick one I’d probably go for Whizzzey Rascal, but my money will be staying in my pocket there. The Kingmaker (2.40) is just as bad. I started at the top and managed to rule out every single horse in the race, so I can’t be touching that one either.
For me, the race of the day takes place over the water in Ireland, the Naas bumper (5.00), where 2 horses at the head of the Champion Bumper market in Carter McKay and West Coast Time go head to head. West Coast Time does appeal here actually, as the prices are only the way they are because of the trainers. West Coast Time put in probably the better debut, but I’ll make a decision on backing him in the morning, as the 15/8 should still be around.
So overall not a great day from a betting perspective, but Sunday looks much better, and Carlingford Lough will win his 3rd Irish Gold Cup too!