The ITV Racing team have had some excellent racing to cover lately including jumps, all-weather action and international Flat racing. It’s all a bit simpler this week as the feature racing comes from the National Hunt meetings at Newbury and Newcastle.
Things aren’t quite as simple for punters though. There is a host of highly competitive racing to try and pick through on Saturday, which means lots of opportunities for punters in our Saturday Racing Tips. We’ve combed through the stats and form to come up with our top tips so check them out and see if our thoughts match your own.
1:20 Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase
Class 2, 2m6½f
Hopes were high about Killer Kane at this time last season. He did well enough for the Tizzards without ever really hitting the heights that some believed he was capable of. Although things didn’t go entirely to plan, there was a lot to like about some of Killer Kane’s performances and connections should feel confident about what he can do over the coming months.
His first performance of this season was a disappointment in as much as he was unable to live up to his billing as the 9/4 favourite of a Class 3 handicap. He was labouring under the burden of top weight though and it’s little surprise he tired after a lengthy break. Stepping up to a Class 2 means he can sneak in at the foot of the weights and so is a tempting bet at nice odds of 11/2.
1:35 Betfair Daily Rewards Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase
Class 3, 2m7½f
The first live ITV race from Newcastle, the Betfair Daily Rewards Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase, has been one to watch in years gone by. The likes of Lord Du Mesnil and Lake View Lad are previous winners who have gone on to much bigger and better things and this year’s winner will be well worth watching.
The bookies make Shantou Lucky the most likely victor here at a general price of 11/4. However, the 4/1 available about Lord Rocco is more tempting. James Ewart’s six-year-old made an excellent start to life as a chaser before he made a sloppy mistake that cost him the win at Ayr. That is certainly excusable given it was his first start for 242 days. He’ll strip fitter for that outing and remains well treated off a mark of 117.
1:55 Coral Racing Club Handicap Hurdle
Class 2, 2m4½f
Racehorse training is an incredibly difficult skill but even the best in the business find it especially tough to prepare horses for their first run of the season. For that reason, Chris Gordon was very happy with the way that Lord Baddesley ran on his seasonal reappearance and wasn’t at all surprised that he improved enough on his second run to win handsomely.
All victories are celebrated but a 9½ length winning distance did not do Lord Baddesley any favours with the handicapper. He has been raised 9lb for that super performance which does appear harsh but, even so, may not represent the ceiling of the seven-year-old’s ability. The Coral Racing Club Handicap Hurdle is a competitive race but at 13/2 Lord Baddesley is still tempting for an each way bet.
2:10 Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle
Grade 1, 2m
Nicky Henderson hasn’t always had a reputation as the most game trainer around. However, he has decided to bite the bullet when it comes to the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle as he has entered Constitution Hill and Epatante against each other for the big Grade 1. This is a hugely popular race with fans and they should have a real treat in store here.
Constitution Hill goes into the race as the heavy favourite despite the fact that he gives 7lb to his stablemate. He’s also still got it all to prove at the top level in open company whereas Epatante is a Champion Hurdle winner and a two-time winner of this race. The odds, however, paint the picture of an up and comer against a horse whose best days are behind her and that looks correct. Such short odds will not appeal to everyone but even so, we cannot oppose the jolly here.
2:30 Coral Bet Bundles Intermediate Handicap Hurdle
Premier Handicap, 2m½f
Newbury plays host to some very competitive racing on Saturday and the Coral Bet Bundles Intermediate Handicap Hurdle certainly fits that bill. First Street is the bookies’ favourite having last been seen in the Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree back in the spring. The relatively inexperienced but high potential Pikar comes next in the betting for the Skeltons, and he certainly deserves respect, but it’s 9/2 shot Teddy Blue who gets the nod.
Teddy Blue sits in the middle of the pack in terms of the weights but his official mark of 129 should be some way short of his peak over hurdles. Gary Moore was happy with what he saw from the four-year-old when he won at Fontwell earlier this month and he is primed to go in again at odds we feel are very generous.
3:05 Coral Gold Club Handicap Chase
Premier Handicap, 3m2f
It is the hope of every punter to unearth a well priced horse in the big handicap of the weekend. That horse may just be Le Milos who can be backed at 6/1 for the Coral Gold Cup Handicap Chase. Dan and Harry Skelton are still learning about the seven-year-old as he has only recently joined the yard but things could not have got off to a better start as he won on his debut for the team.
The Skeltons are very much hoping that heavy rain in the Newbury area will make the ground seriously testing as that will aid Le Milos’ chances against the likes of Corach Rambler and Remastered. Even if conditions aren’t quite perfect, Le Milos is good enough to lay down a challenge and reward his each way backers – at the very least.
3:25 Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Handicap Chase
Premier Handicap, 2m7½f
L’Homme Presse is one of several horses who were supposed to be taking a break this week. The ground was just too firm at Ascot for Venetia Williams’ liking so her charge could not take his place in the Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase. Although the Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Handicap Chase is not a Grade 2, it still carries a decent prize and this will be a serious challenge for L’Homme Presse off a top weight of 12st.
Into Overdrive is the most likely to get the favourite beaten. Like L’Homme Presse, Into Overdrive is a seven-year-old with plenty of room still for improvement. He is also used to winning, albeit at a lower level than his more prestigious opponent. There is no doubt Into Overdrive is lacking in terms of raw class but this is a handicap and he gets almost 2st which could prove decisive for the 4/1 shot.
3:40 Coral Get Closer To The Action Handicap Chase
Class 2, 2m½f
The final offering from ITV Racing is in keeping with much of the rest of the day’s racing in that it is a competitive race with several potential winners. A tricky puzzle once again for punters. That’s true even though just eight runners from a potential field size of 20 will contest this chase, which is just in excess of the minimum distance.
The odds suggest that this could be a shootout between Amarillo Sky and Only Money. However, the competitive nature of the race suggests it’s worth looking further down the card. Bun Doran is appealing in that regard at odds of 11/2, which looks like decent value to us. Bun Doran likes to track the leaders and if the pace is as strong as expected, he might well find that things pan out perfectly.