A super Saturday of racing sees no less than four graded races from Newbury, including the Betfair Hurdle which is worth a whopping £155,000.
Recent past winners of tomorrow’s (Saturday) encounter include Ballyandy and My Tent Or Yours, with the former being backed into favouritism for last year’s Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Also at Newbury you can enjoy the Grade 2 Betfair Denman Chase which is often seen as a key trial for next month’s Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Coneygree was the last horse to win both races in the same season back in 2015.
James Bowen is rapidly making a name for himself as a top-class jockey.
He’s not old enough to hold a driving licence but he sure knows his way around a racecourse having already won a Welsh Grand National.
According to Nicky Henderson, Bowen looks set to keep the ride on a hat-trick seeking JENKINS in the Betfair Hurdle, and the 10/1 shot with Carrigill’s is set to carry 11st12lb minus Bowen’s 3lb claim.
Bowen did the steering for both of his previous wins and Henderson sensibly reckons it would be silly not to use him and get the 3lb off.
IRISH ROE is also priced at 10/1, having just failed in a mares’ hurdle at Doncaster last time out, and LALOR is also around the 10/1 mark but has flattered to deceive having gone off favourite in his last three races. Don’t discount each-way chances though.
DIVIN BERE, trained by 10 times champion trainer Paul Nicholls, showed he can handle the hurly burly of big races when finishing second at Cheltenham in the Fred Winter and if you can forgive the run last time out when he pulled hard early and didn’t settle, the 33/1 on offer looks a value each-way punt.
But this race often goes to a hurdler new to handicaps, and KNOCKNANUSS fits that profile.
Trainer Gary Moore has a tremendous record in this race and looks to have lined up this soft ground specialist who won on his handicap debut at Fontwell on Boxing Day and has been kept fresh since.
The eight-year-old is clearly on the upgrade and Moore was quoted earlier this week as saying that he was still at the right end of the handicap despite going up 11lb and confirmed the ground will suit him. Whatever happens tomorrow keep him in your notebook as he will make up to an exciting novice chaser next season.
Newbury’s Game Spirit Chase at 3pm sees another small field go to post with ALTIOR heading the market at 4/6.
Last year’s Arkle winner returns after a well-documented breathing operation which has kept him off the track this season, but he has proved to be a phenomenal two-mile chaser in winning his last 11 races.
However, his first run back on ground that will be on the slow side could make him vulnerable to progressive 5/2 shot POLITLOGUE.
The Paul Nicholls-trained grey has gone from strength to strength this season, landing the Haldon Gold cup and trouncing his rivals by 13 lengths in a Kempton Grade 2.
The Denman Chase has long been on the radar for Colin Tizzard’s NATIVE RIVER, and I expect one of last season’s top-staying chasers to defend his title.
Fill up your coffers before the weekend’s action by backing RICH AGAIN tonight (Friday) in Newcastle’s 6.45. Owned by New York-based Wakefield Trinity director Richard Vickers, the son of Amadeus Wolf has plenty of winning form over 5f and has dropped 5lb lower than when last successful over this trip.
• CARRIGILL’S NAP (Stake returned as a free bet if selection does not finish in the top 4): DIVINE BEAR, Saturday, Newbury, 3.35.
• AUGUR’S BEST BET: RICH AGAIN, Friday, Newcastle, 6.45.