Four live races on ITV and each is as competitive as the next in their own particular way.
The key thing about the racing at Newbury for the next two days is the ground, It will have a huge bearing on some of the results and you may see some surprises. I expect Friday’s meeting to start on good ground.
Only three runners in this novice chase and Fiddlerontheroof as a Grade 1 winner deserves to be at the head of the market. He made hard work of winning at Exeter last time from Silver Hallmark who is a smart horse in his own right. You could argue that if Silver Hallmark was ridden more conservatively, he would have won. The cold hard facts are that Fiddlerontheroof is exposed to a horse with a turn of foot. And on this drying ground, that is a concern.
Caribbean Boy jumped brilliantly at Haydock when he won, but it was very different ground. As a French import you have no evidence that he will be better on a quicker surface, but there’s no evidence he won’t.
Getaway Trump has not looked a natural over fences, but did win at Fakenham. His best performance was at Sandown in the Spring and it may be that he needs that time of year to really shine. However, this track and ground will really suit him. If he jumps well, he could spring a surprise.
A really competitive contest and lots of the 11 runners can boast strong claims. Quite a few of these have worn as Newbury, so there is lots of reasons to recommend them. Gala Ball loves Newbury as does San Benedeto.
Cepage is a really consistent performer who has mixed it on the big stage a few times. He’s won at the track, handles decent ground and certainly has to be on the shortlist.
However, Oldgrangewood had a really good first run of the season in the old Roan Chase at Aintree and with that run under his belt, he has a lot going for him. I thought he might have got there a bit early last time and back at a track that he really enjoys, will be a force to be reckoned with.
It’s so good to see so many runners in the long distance hurdle. Paisley Park has questions to answer after his lacklustre run in the Stayers Hurdle at the Festival when he was found to have a fibrillating heart. Before that, he had looked nearly unbeatable. Having lost that air of invincibility lots will be keen to take him on.
McFabulous looked really good when winning at Chepstow and a try at Graded races over a trip and this could open up more avenues. Thyme Hill was one of the unluckiest horses at the Cheltenham Festival when enjoying a very troubled passage in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle. There is no doubt that without a troubled run, he might have won it.
Lisnagar Oscar won the Stayers Hurdle, but prior to that he had finished behind Paisley Park. He will handle these conditions and with his comeback run under his belt will be a player.
Sumerville Boy won nicely at Aintree over 2m 4f on slow ground. We have no idea how he will cope with the slightly better conditions, but he was game at Aintree. Aux Petit Soins won a competitive handicap hurdle at Aintree convincingly over this trip on good ground, but has a 575-day layoff to overcome.
Sam Spinner is back over hurdles and will help to stretch these as he likes to get on with it. If Paisley Park has not disappointed at Cheltenham he would be an odds-on favourite. He could just be a very good price if you forgive that run. Thyme Hill is the alternative.
Hill Sixteen won very easily at Ffos Llas over fences and gets in her off his old handicap mark. He is now rated 138 over fences but runs is this hurdle race off 123! It is very different ground though and that makes me look elsewhere for the winner. Dell Arca is on a roll and having won his last two races and is now only 6lbs higher, but his rider is only able to claim 5lbs now. He’s effectively 8lbs higher now but loves this track so has lots going for him.
Coeur de Lion won at Royal Ascot over 2m 4f yet this is his first try over three miles as a hurdler. He will love this trip and he must have a good chance and gets the each-way nod.
- Jump over to all the top tips and racing previews now
- Paddy Power’s Millionaire Chase: All you need to know about the New Year’s Day giveaway
- Paddy Power’s Millionaire Chase: Birthday girl lands £/€10k booty in first qualifier for New Year’s Day giveaway
- The latest racing results are just a click away on PP News
- Horse Racing: How to watch racing for free with Paddy Power