Alan Kelly: Saturday’s ITV Horse Racing From Newbury And Warwick

ITV’s main channel is set to cover a bumper eight races from the meetings at Newbury and Warwick on Saturday afternoon. We take a look at all of the action and the potential implications for future targets, in particular those at the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree’s Grand National meeting.

The Iconic Betfair Hurdle Heads a Tremendous Day of Horse Racing Action

Dating back to 1963, The Betfair Hurdle, known as the Schweppes Gold Trophy until 1986, may ‘just’ be a handicap but it is one of the most iconic races of the National Hunt season. Those of a certain age will remember Hill House’s controversial victory of 1967, a horse who, after being tested positive for Cortisol, was found to have produced the drug itself.

Persian War (1968) and Make A Stand (1997) both went on to win the Champion Hurdle in those years while the first three horses in the 1994 renewal went on, albeit in a different order, to fill the frame in that year’s hurdling crown.

Newbury’s seven-race card also features two Grade 2 races along with the reappearance of top novice chaser Bravemansgame in the opening contest, an extended 2m 7f handicap. Over at Warwick, ITV cameras will cover three races, including a fascinating trial for Cheltenham’s Arkle Chase.

1.15pm Newbury. 2m 7 1/2f

Our Tip: Grumpy Charley – 5/1 with bet365

At a very short price, and having to concede lumps of weight to his five rivals, it could be worth taking on unbeaten novice chaser Bravemansgame, a top price 7/2 with bet365 for the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, with the Chris Honour-trained GRUMPY CHARLEY who looked a horse to follow when winning easily on the course just after Christmas.

1.35pm Warwick. 2m 5f

Our Tip: Indefatigable – 4/5 with bet365

A disappointing turnout for this mares’ Listed race which should go to the 147-rated INDEFATIGABLE. In receipt of 6lb, the Nicky Henderson-trained Marie’s Rock should give Paul Webber’s charge most to do.

1.50pm Newbury. 3m

Our Tip: Coeur De Lion (Each-Way) – 9/1 with Coral

Top weight The Big Breakaway returns to hurdles after failing to fulfil his potential over fences and could easily bounce back over the smaller obstacles. In receipt of 22lb however, the Alan King-trained COEUR DE LION, a decent staying Flat handicapper, looks attractively weighted on just 10st 4lb.

2.05pm Warwick. 2m 1/2f

Our Tip: Edwardstone – Evens with Paddy Power

Only four runners, but a significant trial for next month’s Arkle Novices’ Chase at the festival. The first three British-trained horse in the betting for that race, EDWARDSTONE (3/1 with bet365), Third Time Lucki (7/1 with bet365) and Brave Seasca (16/1 with Unibet) put their claims to the test, with Alan King’s charge expected to come out on top.

2.25pm Newbury. 2m 7 1/2f

Our Tip: Clan Des Obeaux – Evens with bet365

Providing he runs up to something like his best form, the Paul Nicholls-trained CLAN DES OBEAUX should prove too good for his four rivals before heading to Aintree’s Grand National meeting and another Betway Bowl, a race the gelding won by 26 lengths last year. Royale Pagaille can take advantage should Harry Cobden’s mount fail to perform.

3.00pm Newbury. 2m 1/2f

Our Tip: Funambule Sivola – 5/2 with BetVictor

With the late withdrawal of Editeur Du Gite, only four runners go to post for this Champion Chase trial. All can be given a chance however, with preference for Venetia Williams’ FUNAMBULE SIVOLA who ran Shishkin close last year and has his ideal conditions here.

3.15pm Warwick. 2m 4f

Our Tip: Celebre D’Allen – 9/2 with bet365

This 2m 4f handicap is the most competitive race on Warwick’s card with most of the 11 runners having claims. Since joining the stable of Philip Hobbs, CELEBRE D’ALLEN has won both of his starts over hurdles and now running over fences, this winner of two chases in France looks capable of landing the hat-trick off a mark of 135. 

3.35pm Newbury. 2m 1/2f

Our Tips: Boothill (Each-Way) – 8/1 with bet365

Plenty can be given a chance in the feature handicap including last year’s winner and top weight Soaring Glory, Jetoile, Knappers Hill and Broomfield Burg. But the unexposed BOOTHILL from the Harry Fry stable, on his return to hurdling following a disappointing debut over fences, has the potential to prove better than his current mark of 135.