Seymour Biz picked out Alan King’s inmate in his 2018/2019 Chasers To Follow piece and believes that Saturday’s big prize is well within the trainer’s grasp. Here are all 4 of his predictions, for your Lucky 15 wager. You can find all recent UK horse racing analysis and previews from Seymour Biz in his weekly Saturday Horse Racing Tips column.
Another great weekend’s jumping action to look forward to after the excitement of Haydock last week. The television cameras head to Newcastle and Newbury on Saturday this time with some good handicaps to get our teeth into. At Newcastle we have the Rehearsal Chase and I have to say I am not as keen on the Chase course now that they have made room for the all-weather track. The final four furlongs on the run-in after the last bend was a real challenge after 3 miles, but it is now shortened and doesn’t seem to be the tough encounter it once was. Moving south to Newbury we have what was once called the Hennessy Gold Cup, now called the Ladbrokes Trophy to look forward to. The wide open spaces at Newbury are always a challenge and this race has seen some great names being victorious including Native River, Denman and last year Total Recall. There are some great supporting races on the card and here is my Lucky Fifteen fo the televised races.
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Starting at Newbury with the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle at 1.50 where Nicky Henderson sends his well fancied Champ who has won twice already this season. However this is a big step up in class for the gelding who didn’t need to work very hard for those two victories. Henderson’s other entrant here is Charli Parcs who ran a poor race when quietly fancied last time at Cheltenham. He was beaten 15 lengths that day and I am not sure this step up in distance will suit him. Ballymoy looks the form horse in the field, looking at a five timer for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies who’s stable looks in cracking form. He won first time out this season at Chepstow, forging clear after the last and coming home by two lengths. But he has only ever won over 2 miles and the extra 4 1/2 furlongs may find him out. Harry Fry sends Momella for her first run of the season, she goes well fresh if last year’s form is anything to go by. She does tend to get on her toes before races and that is a slight worry for me. My idea of the winner is Speedo Boy from Ian Williams’s yard, a victor at Cheltenham a fortnight ago beating Mahlervous a length. If the 4-year-old can reproduce that sort of performance he can take this. At a big price Air Horse One, who hasn’t won since February 2017, he had a small prep race to get him ready for this contest and he may run into a place.
At 2.25 Newbury stages the Ladbrokes Intermediate Hurdle over 2 miles. The betting is very tight for this race with 8 horses under 9/1. Top of the betting is Whatswrongwithyou from Nicky Henderson’s stable who is making his seasonal reappearance. He was a dual winner last season but flopped when favourite at Sandown in March where he could finish only third, 9 lengths behind the leading pair. Global Citizen had a great season last year winning three times but failed at Aintree when favourite in the last race of the campaign. He has had a prep run at the beginning of the month finishing second to Fidux. He took a keen hold again that day and needs to settle better in his races. Henry Daly sends Whatmore who drops back to 2 miles after his win at Bangor last time, he has a 7lb penalty for that and that could anchor him. The one I like is one of my Ten Hurdlers To Follow, Lisp. Already a winner at Fontwell a fortnight ago in preparation for this, trainer Alan King said “I hope he settles better as he took a ferocious hold when winning at Fontwell. He must be pretty smart and he shouldn’t be so fresh.” He may have enough in his locker to take this.
The big race of the day, the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase is at 3.00. Elegant Escape from Colin Tizzard’s yard is the bookies choice for this major prize. Never out of the frame in seven races last year including two wins he started this year with a victory at Sandown beating Thomas Patrick into second. However his jumping was littered with errors that day and he was lucky to get away with it. He has a penalty for that win and that should enable Thomas Patrick to reverse the placings. One that can trump the pair of them is a Ten To Follow horse, Dingo Dollar, from Alan King’s yard. He had a prep run over hurdles here at Newbury three weeks ago to get him tip-top for this contest. King said of his charge “he can give us something to shout about at our local course. This has long been the plan and I’ve been happy with him since his prep run, his work has been grand”. Take the hint. The fly in the ointment could be Ms Parfois on her seasonal reappearance, she was second to Terrefort at Aintree in April after notching up a treble earlier in the campaign. However as it’s her first run of the season I think this could go against her and I take Dingo Dollar to prevail.
Finally, at Newcastle, we have the BetVictor Rehearsal Handicap Chase at 3.20. Ballydine is well fancied to add to his tally. Charlie Longsden’s 8-year-old gelding finished off last season with a great win at Sandown beating Bishops Road in the process, but he has not run since that win last February and that gives me some concerns. Willoughby Court, a Cheltenham Festival winner in 2017, had a setback at the end of last season and has not been seen out since early February. Although he has the class for this contest, I think he is best watched for now. Harry Fry’s American is saddled with top weight, he finished ninth in last season’s Gold Cup when tiring three out, I don’t think stamina is really his forte. The one I like the look of is Lucinda Russell’s Big River. He is really a Kelso specialist having won there no fewer than five times, the latest being in February in heavy going, however he has also won on good and good/soft so it looks like he acts on any going. The only concern is that it is his first run of the season but he has won previously after a break of 7 months so I nominate him to take this big prize for a local trainer.
Saturday Lucky 15 Picks
1.50 Newbury. Speedo Boy
2.25 Newbury. Lisp
3.00 Newbury. Dingo Dollar
3.20 Newcastle. Big River