Ladbrokes Trophy Chase (Handicap) (Grade3) 3m2f Newbury

newbury grandstand viewWhat a super animal Bristol De Mai is! Jumping for fun, last week’s EW selection, maintained his 100% record at the Merseyside track when winning The Betfair Chase by 4L from the Gold Cup victor, Native River. From turning into the straight, the outcome was never in doubt, and if the Twiston-Davies yard can keep the galloping grey sound, (difficult to train because of niggling problems) his chances of landing that £1million bonus (needs to win The King George at Kempton and Cheltenham’s Gold Cup) for his lucky owners, messr’s Munir And Souede, is not such a remote possibility. With a roll of honour that boasts nine individual Gold Cup winners, Newbury’s Highlight on Saturday, might just unveil another serious contender for Cheltenham honours, and Irish Maestro, Willie Mullins, who amazingly has yet to land “The Big One” at Prestbury Park, will be hoping that it is one of his upwardly mobile, 6yo contenders, Kemboy or Al Boum Photo who pass the winning post in front.

Kemboy, a winner of 4 of his 7 starts over fences, was going well enough when blundering away his chance at the 9th in The Grade1, JLT at Cheltenham in March, and 18 days later didn’t get past the 1st, when brought down in The Irish Grand National. However his next two runs saw a serious improvement in his fortunes, winning a Limerick Grade3 by 8L from the useful Tombstone, and 15 days later winning a valuable handicap at The Punchestown Festival. Racing off a mark of 147 he won very comfortably indeed. Following a 202 days break, he returned to action 16 days ago to beat the 154 rated Alpha Des Obeaux over an inadequate 2 1/2miles, and this son of the hugely successful, but alas deceased, National Hunt stallion, Voix Du Nord, (sire of Vaniteux, Vroum Vroum Mag, Taquin Du Seuil, and Defi Du Seuil to name but a few) is beginning to emerge as a pretty serious tool, and if he does prevail at the weekend, the 33/1 now available for The Gold Cup will be but a distant memory.

Willie’s second contender, Al Boum Photo, had Punchestown’s Grade1 Growise Champion Chase at his mercy, when pilot Townsend, inexplicably decided to alter course at the final fence,and crashed out through the wings. Al Boum Photo had had some jumping issues in 2 of his previous 4 chases, (fell twice) but looked the finished article until pilot error robbed him of a well deserved victory in that Punchestown heat, so riding arrangements for Saturday will be interesting. However he is undoubtedly a talented individual and as one who goes well after a break, and relishes soft ground, is hard to ignore.

The Anthony Honeyball trained mare, Ms Parfois has improved substantially since being stepped up in trip, and she ran the race of her life when just edged out by Saturday’s opponent, Rathvinden,(another contender from Willie Mullins’ Closutton Yard) in the 4miles, National Hunt Chase, at The Cheltenham Festival. She might have won but for hitting the 2nd last, and the pair finished 21L clear of the 3rd horse home, Sizing Tennessee, strong form indeed! and she showed what a tough mare she is when going on to finish 2nd in an Aintree Grade1 a month later. The 7yo meets Rathvinden on a pound better terms and having only raced 7 times over fences further improvement can be anticipated. She has a nice racing weight of 10-12 and my slight concern would be her lack of a recent outing and the yard’s poor form.

Colin Tizzard’s Elegant Escape, and Tom Lacey’s Thomas Patrick fought out a ding dong battle up the Sandown hill 20 days ago, with the Tizzard horse prevailing by 1/2L.
They were both having their first run of the campaign, so both can be expected to come on for the outing, but on 5lbs better terms one has to fancy the course and distance winning Thomas Patrick to come out on top.

tom lacey oddsguru

Tom Lacey’s Thomas Patrick has a terrific chance this weekend

It has to be a great compliment to Tom Lacey’s training skills, that he has produced an animal, whose only success from 6 attempts in the PTP field, came when given a walkover, is now a leading fancy for the second most valuable Handicap Chase in the entire calendar. No immediate improvement in the ex pointer was obvious on joining the Lacey yard, as he was well beaten at odds of 40/1 and 200/1 in his first two races under rules, but hints of the hidden potential were revealed next time, when finishing second at 100/1 in a Class 3 Novice Hurdle. He has now won 3 of his 5 starts over fences, which included victory in the 16 runner Grade3 Mildmay Handicap at Aintree in April, demonstrating that Saturday’s large field should hold no fears. He has a nice racing weight of 11-0, handles heavy ground, and it would be a great feather in Tom’s hat if the 6yo could win on Saturday.

Alan King won with Smad Place three years ago, and he has another likely looking type in the 6yo Dingo Dollar. He won twice over hurdles, but was always going to make a chaser, and has won 2 of his 5 starts over fences. He put up an excellent effort in Ayr’s Novices Championship Handicap last April, going down by only 1L, off a mark of 143, conceding 12lbs to the now rated143 winner Crosshue Boy, which makes Dingo Dollar, on a mark of 148, look very fairly treated on Saturday. He had a nice pipe opener 3 weeks ago, has won over the course, and with an entry in The Welsh Grand National, one presumes connections have no stamina doubts for a race that is invariably run with the choke out.

Selection  : Thomas Patrick
EW.            : Kemboy

John Gray

Racing Tips Betfair Hurdle Newbury

racing-tips-betfair-hurdle-newburyBetfair Hurdle (Handicap) 2m67yds Newbury Saturday – Historically, in a race first run in 1963 as The Schweppes Gold Trophy, an experienced handicapper was usually the order of the day, but recent renewals have seen the Novice division very much to the fore, with less experienced animals dominating.  Novices have collected five of the last seven runnings, and indeed, of the last six to pass the post in front, only Gary Moore’s Violet Dancer had previously run in a handicap. Weight as ever has been a significant factor, with seven of the last ten winners, carrying less than eleven stone. It is worth mentioning however that the three successful animals carrying above this level, Essex (11-6), Zarkandar (11-1) and My Tent Or Yours (11-02) were all well backed favourites, starting at odds of 4/1 or less. Nicky Henderson has been the most successful handler with five victories overall, but only one of those has come in the last ten renewals, while Gary Moore has hit the back of the net three times in the same period.

From 6lbs out of the handicap, it’s difficult to see the Moore yard collecting for a fourth time with their 6yo Krugermac, but Henderson certainly has a live contender with his 5yo Consul De Thaix. He has only had the five starts, and has acquitted himself well on the last two occasions, finishing second in both races, to genuine Champion Hurdle aspirant, Brain Power, and he also demonstrated last time, that the demands of a large field competitive handicap, were right up his street. Held up in midfield, in the 19 runner Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle at Ascot in December, he stayed on well to snatch 2nd in the shadow of the post. Only 5lbs higher at the weekend there should be plenty more to come.

Having won with Splash Of Ginge three years ago, Nigel Twiston-Davies knows what is required, so last year’s Champion Bumper winner, Ballyandy, is worth considering. The 6yo Twiston-Davies contender, made his hurdles debut at Perth in September, and, but for clouting the second last obstacle, must have gone very close to beating the current 2nd favourite for the Supreme Novices, Moon Dancer. He put up another good performance two months later when finishing 3rd behind the same horse at Cheltenham in November, and last time got to within 1/2L of subsequent Challow Hurdle winner, Messire Des Obeaux over 20f at Sandown ten weeks ago. He showed his ability to cope with a big field when winning the Champion Bumper, and has been given a generous looking mark of 135, leaving him with a nice racing weight of 10st10lbs. Having won the valuable Bumper on this card last year, he should like the track, and all in all seems to have plenty going for him on Saturday. One for the shortlist!

Last year the Oddsguru went for the JP McManus-owned gelding, Blazer.

Welsh maestro, Evan Williams, has never won a Betfair Hurdle, but this upwardly mobile trainer has a strong candidate with his improving 7yo Clyne. Prior to running in Haydock’s Champion Hurdle Trial, this son of Hernando had won his four previous races, improving from a mark of 115 to his current mark of 143, and showed that rating fully deserved when making The New One pull out all the stops in that Haydock contest. Well suited by a flat left handed track on testing ground he could find conditions ideal on Saturday.

If the Alan King trained, William H Bonney turns out again, only fourteen days after a convincing win at Cheltenham, take note.


Trainer Alan King will be hoping for a Bonney bonanza

He had the favourite for that Prestbury Park heat, Wait For Me, 3 3/4L back in fifth, and meets him on only 5lbs worse terms, so should confirm the form with the Hobbs runner. A winner of three of his six starts over hurdles, it won’t come as any great surprise if this “gun slinger” is involved at the business end on Saturday.

Represented by the 5yo Zubayr, and the 6yo, Movewithetimes, the master of Ditcheat, Paul Nicholls, is finding it hard to split them. However with the outstanding recent record of handicap debutants/novices in mind, perhaps the one to concentrate on is the JP McManus owned Movewithetimes. A winner of the first of his three races over hurdles at Fontwell in October, he found all the trouble going twenty five days later, when finishing 5th, 3 3/4L behind the winner, Moon Racer at Cheltenham, (Ballyandy 3rd, 1L ahead of Movewithetimes). He won his last race, a Wincanton Novices comfortably six weeks ago, and is reported in good order. Considering that he was hampered on two occasions in the closing stages of that Cheltenham contest, meeting Ballyandy on 3lbs better terms for that one length deficit makes him look a well handicapped horse, and being a big strong type should be well suited by Newbury’s expansive galloping track.

Selection: Movewithetimes

E.W.         : Clyne (if abs Ballyandy)

Becher Handicap Chase Betting Tips


Horse Racing - Fantastic Friday Raceday - Newbury Racecourse

Alan King’s Ziga Boy gets the Oddsguru’s vote for Saturday’s Becher Chase

Betfred Becher Handicap Chase 3m2f Aintree Saturday – The two stand out statistics for Saturday’s contest have to be that the last seventeen winners were rated under 149, and the last six to pass the post in front, were rated lower than 138, emphasising, that both The Last Samuri (159), and Vicompte Du Noyer (154) have a mountain to climb at the weekend. Age has been no bar to success with the race going to an animal aged 11 or older six times, since its inception in 1992. Indeed, both Oscar Time, and Hello Bud, (for his second win) were teenagers when collecting. Nigel Twiston-Davies has been the most successful trainer with five victories, followed by Paul Nicholls with three. Apart from two wins by the late lamented Dessie Hughes, Black Apalaci (2008), and Vic Venturi (2009), Irish stables have drawn a blank but, they mount a serious challenge for this year’s renewal, not least with the Eric Mc Namara trained 9yo Dare To Endeavour.

He was beaten 2 1/4L in last year’s contest by Highland Lodge, and meets him on 4lbs better terms on Saturday. He further demonstrated his aptitude for the Aintree Spruce, when completing in the Topham Trophy in April, and having pleased his trainer with a decent run in a Limerick 3m chase eight weeks ago, he comes here with plenty of stable confidence behind him, particularly if it comes up soft.

The 8yo Ucello Conti was trained in France until joining the Elliott Academy at the end of last year. He had won eight of his thirteen starts across the channel, including a 3yo chase at Auteil, but was never tried beyond 21f. Shrewd trainer that Gordon Elliott is, he recognised the animal as a stayer, and he duly ran a very solid race in his first attempt at a trip, when finishing third in the 25f Thyestes Chase last January, in bog like conditions. He was sent off a 25/1 shot for the Grand National next time out, and demonstrated that the Aintree obstacles held no fears for him when, he ran a great race to finish 6th off a mark of 149. Retired for the season, he had a nice pipe opener over hurdles at Navan twenty days ago. He doesn’t look badly treated on a mark of 148, and coming from this yard, which can do no wrong at the moment, looks worthy of his prominent position in the market.

Fergal O’Briens tough staying veteran, the 11yo Alvarado, has been placed twice in the National, and, having run another fine race in the Scottish equivalent last April, where he finished 2nd, off a mark of 135, upped stumps for the season.


Fergal O’Brien’s teak tough Alvarado also has a strong chance in Saturday’s race

He made a highly satisfactory reappearance behind Saturday’s opponent, Viconte Du Noyer at Cheltenham three weeks ago, where, having lost his place at the 15th fence, ran on well from the 3rd last to finish 6th, 7L behind the Tizzard horse. He meets Viconte Du Noyer on 10lbs better terms at the weekend and with only 10st2lbs in the plate is another to make plenty of appeal.


Mouse Morris runs his Irish Grand National winner Rogue Angel and the 8yo looks realistically treated on a mark of 145, 7lbs higher than for his hard fought Fairyhouse victory. Thought to have needed his two outings this season, in the Munster and Cork Nationals, Morris, the hugely talented trainer of this year’s Grand National winner, Rule The World, is quite bullish about the chances of Rogue Angel, expecting “great improvement” from his last run.

It is 15 years since the legendary Ginger McCain won this with subsequent Aintree Hero Amberleigh House, and I’m sure son Donald would love to emulate his dad, by winning this with the 7yo Knock House, for one of his most loyal supporters, Tim Leslie.


The great Ginger McCain’s son Donald saddles Knock House

He ran a very promising race at the Cheltenham Festival, where, despite being badly hampered at the 13th fence, rallied to finish 4th in a field of 22 runners, off a mark of 144. He disappointed 3weeks later and was retired for the season. He makes his reappearance on Saturday off a generous looking mark of 141 giving him a racing weight of 10st8lbs and as he can go well fresh is another to consider.


Read the Oddsguru’s 2015 Becher Handicap Chase preview.

Alan King runs Ziga Boy, and as he has won in December for the last two years, this certainly looks like his time of year. Having won last December off a mark of 117, he put up a real eye catching performance off a 16lbs higher mark next time, when winning a Class1 Doncaster handicap by 3 1/4L and 1/2L from the useful pair Coologue and Buywise at the end of January. He disappointed in his two following runs, both at Kempton, and was put away until reappearing in a 3m Bangor handicap chase 24 days ago. Needing the race, he finished a respectable 5th off a mark of 138 and lines up on Saturday on a 1lb lower mark. Having won this with West End Rocker in 2011, King knows what is required, and it will come as no surprise to see this good jumper, (has never fallen) involved at the business end.

Selection : Ziga Boy

E.W.       : Alvarado