Racing boffin Steven Dowler is back to take on the Boosted £5,000 Place 6 at Newbury on Friday. Check out his Newbury tips and join his Syndicate.
All eyes will be drawn to the highly-regarded FLINTEUR SACRE in the opening leg of our Newbury tips, who will make his eagerly-awaited hurdling debut. He was very good in a pair of bumpers last season, including when winning with the minimum of fuss at Kempton.
He’ll be facing a tough opponent in the shape of Dan Skelton’s, My Drogo, but Nicky Henderson’s five-year-old has the potential to reach the top and looks hard to oppose.
Selections: FLINTEUR SACRE
It’s hard to discount any of these, which is why I’m going to stick three on our ticket.
SCARDURA has failed to complete the last twice, but he’s a horse with a lot of ability and was actually shorter in the betting for a stronger race at Cheltenham two starts back then Rouge Vif, who bolted up. If he can put in a clear round, I think he’s capable of exploiting a mark of 134 with Sam Twiston-Davies back on board.
ZOFFEE was a good second on chasing debut behind Getaway Trump before going one better at Exeter last time. He jumps very neatly and could have a lot of improvement in him with Richard Johnson maintaining the partnership.
Alan King’s WILLIAM H BONNEY has plenty of course form, including when eighth in a Betfair Hurdle two years ago from a mark of 134. He warmed up for this race with good spin over hurdles last time out and his chasing mark of 126 makes him very interesting.
Selections: SCARDURA, ZOFFEE, WILLIAM H BONNEY
BRAVEMANSGAME was good in a couple of bumpers last season and having chased home a useful prospect on hurdling debut, he then trounced a good sort at Exeter by 11-lengths last time. With more to come, he should be tough to beat under Harry Cobden for Paul Nicholls.
His main danger appears to be Nicky Henderson’s BOTHWELL BRIDGE, who made a sparkling hurdle debut at Warwick on seasonal debut and is worth an investment with anticipated improvement.
Selections: BOTHWELL BRIDGE, BRAVEMANSGAME
13.50 – Ladbrokes Committed To Safer Gambling Novices’ Chase – 2m3f
Just the three runners here, but it’s a tight contest and it would be foolish to leave out any of the trio, who have claims to make their mark over fences.
CARIBEAN BOY will have a tough task to overcome an absence but he showed fair promise when beating the useful The Big Bite when last seen and should develop into a decent chaser this season remaining completely unexposed with better to come.
FIDDLERONTHEROOF demonstrated a fine attitude combined with a fine round of jumping when winning at Exeter a fortnight ago. He comes out best on official ratings being top-rated at 15/2 and, with the likelihood of reaching the highest level in this sphere, there will be many long faces if he can’t go close to winning this being a Grade One-winning hurdler.
GETAWAY TRUMP is the outsider of the party, but he’s got a cracking chance of success despite being the sort to lack conviction at his fences. However, he jumped better when winning last time out and that will have done his confidence in the world of good as he attempts to claim this Grade Two prize.
Selections: CARIBEAN BOY, FIDDLERONTHEROOF, GETAWAY TRUMP
An interesting race, but I’m hopeful that bottom-weight DEFI SACRE will be able to build on his reappearance when finishing second at Aintree. He progressed effectively over fences last season, winning all three of his races towards the end of his campaign and travelled strongly on his return last month. He has a bit to find on ratings, but gets nearly two-stone in weight from the market leaders and, with two course wins to his name along with Richard Hobson doing well with his chasers at this track, he ticks plenty of boxes.
The Paul Nicholls-trained SAN BENEDETO has plenty of course form and connections will be relieved to see him back on his last winning mark which came over course-and-distance in a Grade Three last season. He’s held in form well since, notably when fourth in this race twelve months ago from a mark of 152, so being 5Ib lower, this nine-year-old looks sure to run a big race.
COUNT MERIBEL didn’t get as a far as the fifth fence last week, but he’s very well-treated on the basis of his second behind Lostintranslation on his reappearance last season and his sixth in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham which came off a 4Ib higher mark. With a clear round, I’d be hopeful of him running better than his current odds suggest.
Selections: DEFI SACRE, SAN BENEDETO, COUNT MERIBEL
15.00 – Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle – 3m
A high-class renewal of this quality Long Distance Hurdle. I’m going to take a chance on a couple of runners against Paisley Park, who needs to bounce back from his blip in the Stayers Hurdle.
In that very race, Grade One-winner SUMMERVILLE BOY wasn’t ridden in the same manner as when nearly beating Paisley Park in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham but still managed to keep on well to finish fifth.
He looked on good terms with himself when winning at Aintree on his return over shorter and connections clearly feel as though he’s a three-mile hurdler. If Johnny Burke can seize the initiative on the front end, this eight-year-old, who has a race-fitness edge and will be tough to pass.
THYME HILL was unfortunate to finish fourth in a fantastic renewal of the Albert Bartlett when short of room at a crucial stage and will be looking for compensation in this division this season. He looks a thorough three-miler, who is only six, and has the potential to be a lethal weapon in this sphere.
Selections: SUMMERVILLE BOY, THYME HILL
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