It should be another cracking Saturday of racing action with Cheltenham favourites Altior and Native River in action but Alan Thomson has pinpointed a 10-1 shot to land the feature Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.
THEBANNERKINGREBEL (3.35) should be well suited by the drying ground at Newbury and is fancied to beat 25 rivals in the feature Betfair Hurdle.
This will be his first handicap venture but Jamie Snowden’s gelding brings strong novice form into the race. Significantly, Thebannerkingrebel is a triple winner on ground described as good or good to soft, and he is taken to reverse Haydock form with Stolen Silver.
He would not have been ideally suited by the very deep surface that day and found himself short of room when attempting to rally on the long run-in, finishing a close third. A 9lb pull in the weights makes him an attractive each-way wager.
Nigel Twiston-Davies has won two of the last three renewals (with Al Dancer and Ballyandy) and besides Stolen Silver he saddles Sir Valentine, a course and distance winner in novice company.
Not So Sleepy, a dual Ascot winner, has been clobbered 17lb for his latest runaway success but the Cesarewitch fourth should still go well. He has little in hand of Oakley, beaten just over two lengths at Ascot in November and allowed 10lb for that defeat. There has been support for lightly-weighted Mack The Man and he is another one for the shortlist.
For ew backers, Paddy Power offer six places.
Altior and Native River will be many punters’ banker double of the day, with both trading odds-on, but looking elsewhere ONE FOR THE TEAM (1.50) should go close at decent odds in the three-mile handicap hurdle.
He chased home Champers On Ice over course and distance in November and has since run third to Silver Sheen at Warwick, leading three out before being done for speed. Chester Williams takes off 5lb.
NUBE NEGRA (2.05) looks the best bet on the Warwick card.
Dan Skelton’s gelding bagged a course and distance victory over Ballymoy back in October and will appreciate the decent ground.
He lost little in defeat at Sandown when chasing home Esprit Du Large in early December and on a collateral form line through Grand Sancy, comfortably holds one of his chief market rivals Rouge Vif, runner-up to Global Citizen at Kempton’s Christmas fixture.
Nicky Henderson’s Precious Cargo remains quite unexposed and adds interest.
Paddy Power sponsor the 2m 5f mares’ hurdle and if all eight stand their ground COPPER GONE WEST (2.40) makes plenty of each-way appeal at around 6-1.
Tim Vaughan’s seven-year-old has 11 lengths in hand of Indefatigable on their running behind Silver Forever at Sandown in early January and Copper Gone West beat another of today’s rivals, Coded Message, over three miles at Doncaster in December.
The 2m 4f handicap chase has an open look, with Gala Ball penalised 3lb for edging out Le Rocher in a thriller at Wincanton in early January.
He should go well but slight preference is for BELAMI DES PICTONS (3.15) in the hope that first-time cheek-pieces spark a revival.
The Venetia Williams-trained gelding was sent off a miserly 2-1 favourite for a tough handicap at Kempton over Christmas but never showed behind Just A Sting. His earlier fourth to Happy Diva in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham was a far better effort and he would be hard to beat if able to re-produce that run.
Blinkers replace the usual visor on King Of Realms and it would be no surprise to see this course winner over three miles going well at loud odds.
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