We have a feast of racing for you where arguably the most fascinating contest comes from Newcastle with the mighty Samcro coming over to tackle Buveur D’air in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle (2.05pm).
The dual Champion Hurdler was the 1/6 fav last year and bolted up, but has a couple of young pretenders to the crown to deal with now.
Both Samcro and Summerville Boy won the novice events at the Festival last March, so this will be a good test to see where all of them stand. Samcro has the benefit of a run over the other two, although he was beaten by Bedrock at Down Royal, who is also in the line-up.
Buveur D’air has had a wind operation since his Champion Hurdle win and I get he impression that Nicky Henderson feels we didn’t see the best of him in last season’s race. Summerville Boy got better last season as the year went on and it could be the same again this term.
I think BUVEUR D’AIR will win but I expect Samcro to give him a fright.
The ITV coverage starts at Newbury where Champ is the favourite in the 1.50pm. He finished his season off in style with two comfortable victories but lacks a recent run. That just swings it in favour of SPEEDO BOY for me. We saw him winning a tactical affair at Cheltenham and the only concern is if the ground gets bottomless.
GLOBAL CITIZEN was a really good winner of the Dovecote Hurdle at Kempton last season and he was fancied to make a winning return to action at Ascot, but finished second. He’ll strip fitter now in the 2.25pm and his trainer Ben Pauling was among the winners at Newbury yesterday. Whatmore is a decent each way alternative.
The Ladbroke Trophy 3pm is a good renewal but maybe not as classy as recent years. Any of the horses who finished in the first three in last Saturday’s Betfair Chase would be strongly fancied to win it!
Neil Muholland’s THE YOUNG MASTER is on a real roll and this is his chance for glory. He is due to be raised 3 lbs in future races too. Ms Parfois is another who is on a competitive mark after some really good runs last season.
My old mate Black Corton carries top weight. It’s not ideal as he is not very big, but he should run his race and could be placed. I fancy The Young Master to lead home Ms Parfois from Black Corton and Thomas Patrick.
In the 2m handicap chase 3.35pm that ends the card, connections will be hoping that Bigmartre can bounce back to form as he was fancied last time, but ran below par. While I’m slightly concerned that LADY BUTTONS’ stamina could get stretched around here, I am not going to desert her her now and she’s the selection.
We finish at Newcastle with the Rehearsal Chase at 3.20pm that usually ends in a slow-motion finish after they’ve run nearly three miles. Nick Alexander’s LAKE VIEW LAD should be suited by this test and his course form reads 1-2-1 in three runs here.
He might be able to end the day on a high for us. Good luck!