A tremendous afternoon of National Hunt action is in store at Newbury on Saturday, the highlight being the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle (still referred to by many of a certain age as the Schweppes), one of the top 2m handicap hurdles of the Jump season.
We will provide a Horse Racing tip, preview and prediction for this famous contest, set to be run at 3.35pm, together with two other races on the card, the opening novices’ limited handicap chase at 1.15pm and at 3.00pm the Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase.
“Tip of the Day” – Funambule Sivola – 3.00pm Newbury
A 33/1 chance with bet365 for next month’s Champion Chase at the festival, Venetia Williams’ charge can book his place alongside the likes of Shishkin and Energumene with a victory in this Grade 2 contest.
Grumpy Charley (Next Best) – 1.15pm Newbury
You have to admire the decision of trainer Paul Nicholls to run his exciting chaser Bravemansgame in this novices’ limited handicap chase rather than take an easier option somewhere ahead of a potential clash with top Irish novice Galopin Des Champs at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.
With the stable not really firing at the moment however and having to concede plenty of weight to some decent novices, the exciting top weight may be worth taking on with Grumpy Charley, who is set to receive 16lb from Bravemansgame.
The Chris Honour-trained seven-year-old won three of his six runs over hurdles, along with finishing sixth in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle behind Appreciate It, before making his chasing debut at Chepstow last October. The mount of 3lb claimer Brian Carver failed to make any impression in a race the gelding patently needed. But looked a completely different proposition next time when winning over a slightly shorter trip on this course just after Christmas.
The son of Shirocco seemed to appreciate the step-up in distance and is fancied to take advantage of the weight he receives from the Ditcheat runner.
Funambule Sivola (NAP) – 3.00pm Newbury
Only five runners for this Grade 2 contest but impossible to rule out any of the quintet, as the tightly-knit betting market would suggest. The Gary Moore-trained Editeur Du Gite should make it a true-run race, with the other four contestants at their best when held up off the pace.
Hitman would have a great chance if in the same kind of form as when beating all bar stablemate Greaneteen in Sandown’s Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase in December. But with the Paul Nicholls stable under something of a cloud at the moment, Harry Cobden’s mount is passed over.
Sky Pirate gives the impression that this grade is perhaps a little beyond his capabilities, while the admirable Sceau Royal may struggle to concede the weight to his four rivals. This leaves the Venetia Williams-trained Funambule Sivola as the one to beat, under what are possibly the gelding’s ideal conditions.
Beaten just over three lengths by Shishkin in a Grade 1 at Aintree last April, the son of Noroit struggled when upped in trip earlier this season before defying top weight over this distance at Doncaster on his most recent start. The mount of Charlie Deutsch can win this Grade 2 before heading to the Cheltenham Festival for the Champion Chase for which the seven-year-old could make the frame at the 33/1 available with bet365.
Boothill (Longshot) – 3.35pm Newbury
Another wide-open renewal of this famous handicap hurdle, although a field of only 14 runners is some way short of the maximum 24 we have come to expect in recent years.
Rookie trainer Ryan Potter has made an impact on the sport in recent months and his Jetoile must have a leading chance based on two easy victories towards the end of last year before beating all bar the hugely exciting Constitution Hill in Sandown’s Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle on the gelding’s most recent start.
Top weight Soaring Glory, Knappers Hill and Broomfield Burg are just three more who post obvious claims. But back over the smaller obstacles after disappointing on his only start over fences at Exeter last December, the Harry Fry-trained Boothill makes plenty of each-way appeal at a decent price.
After winning a Kempton Bumper impressively two years ago, the son of Presenting created a big impression on his debut over hurdles when hardly breaking sweat to record a nine and a half length win at Taunton later that year.
Not seen again for almost 11 months, Sean Bowen’s mount , after travelling strongly, went down by just over two lengths in third behind fellow rival Soaring Glory in a Listed handicap hurdle at Ascot. The unexposed seven-year-old is open to plenty more improvement and off the same mark of 135, a big run is expected.
Here at Freebets.com we will continue to bring you the very best horse racing betting tips from our experts and the best collection of free bets and betting offers anywhere. Please note all odds are correct at the time of publication.