Horse Racing Blog: Champ Stars in 'Super Sunday' at Newbury

After being abandoned last weekend, the Newbury ‘Super Saturday’ meeting has now been rescheduled to take place this Sunday, 21st February with the Grade 2 Denman Chase at 2.25pm and the Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase at 3pm.

Champ Can Win Game Spirit

Betfair are sponsoring the whole Newbury fixture so including the Game Spirit Chase which is a trial and prep-race for the 2 mile Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

It’s a fascinating field of just seven runners, bringing together some experienced campaigners and chasers not long out of novice company. That includes Champ who can be backed at 5/2 with Boylesports for the two miles and half a furlong contest.

Champ was originally set to run in the much longer Denman Chase (2m 7f) which is a trial race for the Cheltenham Gold Cup but his trainer Nicky Henderson has decided to drop him all the way back to just 2 miles for this prep run. Maybe he feels it will leave him fresher for the Gold Cup for which he can still be backed at 12/1 with bet365*

The JP McManus-owned horse is named after the legendary jumps jockey Tony McCoy and connections look to have a picked a good horse to honour the multiple champion jockey.

Champ has won three races in four chases and fell in the other one. The RSA Novices’ Chase win at last year’s Festival was amazing. Jockey Barry Geraghty found an incredible drive to make up many lengths up the long uphill run-in to snatch an extraordinary victory by one length.

Cadzand New Fav for Betfair Hurdle

Perhaps the most intriguing runner on the original Newbury card was Metier who was set to line up as the favourite in the Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle (3.35pm). However, trainer Harry Fry has since decided to go straight to the Cheltenham Festival with him where he may target the Supreme Novices Hurdle.

Harry Skelton’s Cadzand now heads the Betfair Hurdle betting with best odds of 5/1 at bet365* who are paying one quarter the odds for the first four places.

You can get an extra place with Betfair or Paddy Power who are offering an enhanced 5 places but at slightly shorter odds of 9/2. You can make your choice for one of the most open handicap hurdle races of the season.

Inexperienced hurdlers have a good record in the Betfair race because they can be graded horses running in a handicap and Cadzand has only races six times so far recording 3 wins and 3 places so looks like a solid each way bet on Sunday.

Clan Odds on for Denman Chase

In the Denman Chase at 2.25pm at Newbury, Clan Des Obeaux and Lostintranslation bring Gold Cup form to the race.

Clan Des Obeaux was only eighth in this race last year where Lostintranslation looked the most likely winner until being outstayed by Al Boum Photo and Santini.

Kalashnikov is graduating through the chasing ranks and has the best hurdles form but after the defection of Champ to the Game Spirit Chase, the dual King George winner Clan Des Obeaux is fancied to win the race.

And Finally…

As you may well know the Gambling Commission are reviewing the Gambling Act and are proposing to limit what we can spend on betting (as low as £100/month!) and if you want to go above this, you will have to jump through all manner of hoops to prove you have the means.

Although probably well intentioned, it’s really none of their business – have you ever heard of anyone being told what they are allowed to spend on booze or cigarettes. Hopefully common sense will prevail as it may well lead to more unregulated offshore gambling.

* Betting odds are correct at the time of writing. All odds are subject to change.