Taking a look at Newbury's brilliant Sunday card

There's some fantastic Sunday action at Newbury this weekend.
There's some fantastic Sunday action at Newbury this weekend.

Our new columnist Tanya Stevenson takes an in-depth look at the action from Newbury this Saturday and picks out the horses of interest...

Ascot’s loss is Newbury’s gain, and since Newbury plonked itself on this Sunday, it has diluted the whole weekend as some huge clashes have been averted. The Betfair Denman Chase has Clan Des Obeaux at the top of the market with Lostintranslation deciding to take him on, than Cyrname in Saturday’s Ascot Chase. Secret Investor followed round Native River to be second last year and his task will be much hard 12 months on.

I thought Kalashnikov was running a belter over hurdles after a 287 day break, but the three miles and the deep ground may have taken its toll, so I’m intrigued why he is having another go over this far, if he stays then he has to be a major contender which is obvious as he is around 7/1 in the betting.  

The Conditional has major Grand National aspirations and this Festival winner may be bidding to go to Cheltenham all over again.  But he only gets a couple of pounds from Lostintranslation and Clan Des Obeaux. Terrefort hasn’t been seen since pulling up in Frodon’s Ryanair Chase, 710 days ago. He does boast having finished second in this to Clan Des Obeaux in 2019.  

It could be a memorable weekend for Venetia Williams as she has a few live outsiders, Cepage has it all to do to reverse form with The Conditional, but that is offset by the 16lb pull on that rival from their Cheltenham Festival meeting. Problem is though he has to win off his highest ever mark and these are not the ideal conditions for him to do that.  

Four horses have won the Denman Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same year: 2007 Kauto Star, 2008 Denman, 2015 Coneygree, 2018 Native River.  Lostintranslation would be hoping to add his name to the list by bouncing back today. He might just hate Kempton as this is the second year on the bounce he downed tools on Boxing Day, but he wasn’t at his best at Haydock either, despite the fact Colin Tizzard is slowly coming back to form and Robbie Power is aboard I’m dubious over his chances, he hasn’t actually won since November 2019.

Paul Nicholls has won this race on nine previous occasions including with Clan Des Obeaux in 2019.  It’s a race where six of the 19 winners had taken in that season’s King George VI Chase and 14 of the 19 winners had a top three placing on their most recent run. I fancied Clan Des Obeaux to claim his third King George but in hindsight perhaps his effort in trying to chase down Bristol De Mai in the Befair Chase did the damage. He has won both his starts at Newbury and is a veteran of 12 Grade 1s including with the wins at Kempton being his only two successes at that level. I’m going for Clan Des Obeaux to be the second multiple winner of this race behind Native River.

Clan Des Obeaux is going to be a very short price so if seeking a bit of value head to the 1.50 Newbury and Mint Condition. I really think Adrimel will go well at the Cheltenham Festival and am hoping Tom Lacey opts for the Albert Bartlett, that said in the Leamington Hurdle at Warwick he just chinned Mint Condition. Jennie Candlish’s runner had to be pushed along throughout, yet was very willing and came into contention very rapidly approaching the last. He was blocked in a way by a wall of horses and in Kielan Woods defence I suspected he was surprised how much he still had in the tank.  He accelerated well over the last and seems to have gone unnoticed. Lily Pinchin is aboard today removing a valuable 5lb of burden in a big open handicap. He is top weight but he had so many options this weekend that you had to hone in on the one that was opted for and I am.

Denman Chase
Clan Des Obeaux silk

Clan Des Obeaux

placed
Newbury 13:50
Mint Condition silk

Mint Condition

Non-Runner

There’s one of the best handicap hurdles of the season at 3.35, the Betfair Hurdle, first run in 1963 it is rich in history and gambles, there’s the ability to back each-way at least four places and there’ll surely be better out there so shop around. For me Its been a race of “if onlys” and “Ei Ei’s”. Five of the last ten favourites have obliged but equally in that same period there have been winners priced at 33-1, 20-1, 16-1 and 33-1 last year. So don’t be afraid to look outside the obvious. I’m going to go on with a fancied pick and a lively rank outsider.  

Trainers who do well in this race are Nicky Henderson with five successes, then Gary Moore and Nigel Twiston-Davies with three a piece all are represented again. There will be an honest pace set by For Pleasure, Its going to be a very big ask for him to make all, despite being a Grade 2 winner. It’s the enormity of the numbers against him, those unexposed and improving at different rates and whether he has any more to give under his current rating.  

My Drogo is a horse I hold in very high regard and hope he is ok as he has come out of all his Cheltenham Festival engagements. I had him pencilled in as a big selection on the day in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle, back to the drawing board there. However Soaring Glory does represent his form as he was third to My Drogo in the Grade 2 Kennel Gate at Ascot. He boasts a victory over Bravemansgame at Chepstow back in October and carries a real feather weight in 10-7. Jonjo O’Neill won the race with Get Me Out Of Here back in 2010. I am hoping for a change of luck for Jonjo O’Neill Jnr as of Saturday morning he had failed to finish on 9 of his last 14 rides.   

The last horse older than 6 to win the Betfair Hurdle was Geos aged 9 back in 2004, plus the only horse to carry over 11-8 to victory was Persian War in 1968. No wonder Kevin Brogan got the nod aboard Buzz!  

Cheltenham Festival Tips

I’m also going to have a silly sentimental interest on Gumball, the last time he was seen over hurdles was in the 2020 Champion Hurdle. He ran in this last year but never got into contention, I’d like him to be ridden more positively this time round. Having won at Uttoxeter over the larger obstacles he took a cruel tumble at the second last at Cheltenham when going well.  Then he ran very flat in the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase when last of four at Kempton. He could be allowed to enjoy himself in this with little expectation off his current mark and a bit like Remiluc last year, sneak a place at a huge price.  

Finally in the Game Spirit I’m hoping that Fanion D’Estruval will be allowed to dictate, he showed he had ability in the Clarence House Chase but I was perplexed by him being held up behind the likes of Waiting Patiently. It’s hard to imagine him coming from behind a proven Grade 1 winner and one that stays three miles! Still move on and he has the ideal opportunity in a grade lower to show that he is worthy of an entry in Grade 2. When you consider the three horses ahead of him at Ascot were First Flow, Politologue and Waiting Patiently and he carried the same weight, he has a massive chance today.

Betfair Hurdle
Soaring Glory silk

Soaring Glory

won
Betfair Hurdle
Gumball silk

Gumball

lost
Game Spirit Chase
Fanion D'Estruval silk

Fanion D'Estruval

lost
Cheltenham Festival Races
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