A fabulous day of racing in store and although there is good stuff at Newcastle, Doncaster and Bangor all my tips come at Newbury. I can't wait.
Before the ITV cameras start rolling I think there is an absolute good thing running at Newbury. BLACK CORTON won nicely two weeks ago against Ballyoptic who I thought would win easily but Black Corton put his jumping experience over the last few months to good use and won nicely. His main rival today, Fountains Windfall, wasn't nearly as good as Ballyoptic over hurdles and I expect Black Corton to continue his remarkable run of victories over fences and win a much-needed graded race for Paul Nicholls. I think he should be priced at closer to even money so the 2/1 that is available in a few places is great value.
Air Horse One is a rock solid favourite and I wouldn't put anyone off having him at what is a fair price – the form of his 4th place behind Elgin at Ascot is working out to be one of the best pieces of form of the season so far with Elgin winning the Greatwood Hurdle since then and the 2nd place and 5th place that day also winning subsequently. The one that I think is sightly better value though is OLD GUARD who you might remember I tipped a few weeks ago at a nice price in the Greenwood where he obliged with a staying-on third place. This extra half mile today should suit him judging from that run and he looks great value at another each way price today.
The last race that HIGH BRIDGE ran in was the race at Ascot a month ago won by Elgin that I referred to earlier. High Bridge was third that day and the form looks rock solid. Add to that the fact that High Bridge won here at Newbury twice last season over this distance and I just can't see past him. A solid win bet for me.
What a race this could turn out to be. The bookies are going bonkers with extra places so I think I'm going to be indulgent and pick two for this race. Total Recall is the clear favourite and has obvious claims as a Willie Mullins improver who won nicely first time out in the Munster National at Limerick in October. Mullins doesn't have a great record in British handicaps though and I'm not convinced the Munster National was a particularly competitive race. In short, I can't have Total Recall at the current prices.
The first one that I like is AMERICAN for Harry Fry and ridden by Noel Fehily. This is a really classy looking chaser who had a lovely novice season last year and has been really looked after by Fry. This race has been his target since last season and second season chasers have a very good record in the race. I think he could be the best horse in the field and is the one most likely to go on and become a King George or Gold Cup contender. With the place terms on offer I absolutely have to have an each way bet on him because I cant see him finishing outside of the first 3 or 4.
The second one that I like is one at much bigger odds in the shape of PRESENT MAN for Paul Nicholls. The horse will maintain the partnership with Bryony Frost (who gets a handy 5lb claim) and is due to go up anther 4lb in the handicap after this race. With Nicholls' record in big Saturday handicaps and the current form of this horse I'm astonished at the prices that are available.
- 12.45 – Black Corton – 3pt win at 2/1 with Unibet, Bet365 and others
- 1.50 – Old Guard – 2pt each way at 7/1 with William Hill, Bet365 and others
- 2.25 – High Bridge – 3pt win at 3/1 with Betfred, BetBright and others
- 3.00 – American – 3pt each way at 13/2 with Betfair (paying 6 places)
- 3.00 – Present Man – 2pt each way at 20/1 with Betfair (paying 6 places)