It’s Hennessy day for most, although a little bookmaker sponsors the race in the modern era! Six races on ITV to enjoy with four at Newbury and two – weather permitting – at Newcastle.
Let’s get straight to it, and the 13:50 at Newbury is a handicap hurdle over an extended 2m4f. The interesting one here is the very lightly raced Soul Emotion for Nicky Henderson. He has clearly had issues but might be well handicapped and probably didn’t stay when running respectably behind Paisley Park when last seen at Ascot.
The 14:25 at Newbury is a Listed handicap hurdle over an extended 2m. Elvis Mail might not be the classiest of these, but she is in cracking form for the Alexander team. A race fit mare who is improving all the time, my hope stays well and is a decent each-way bet. As Elvis might say thank you very much!
The big race at Newbury comes up at 15:00, with a Grade 3 handicap chase over 3m2f. Not often I go with a top weight in a race of this nature, but Elegant Escape is another hard to keep out the frame. The former Welsh National hero returned with a fine run at Wetherby and has stamina in abundance. He’ll be running on when others have had enough and is a sound jumper. I’ll be having a decent each-way wager.
Finally at Newbury, the 15:40 is a handicap chase over an extended 2m. No Comment might need further as a horse who has finished fifth in a Kim Muir, but he could be a spot of value here for the master Philip Hobbs. Relatively lightly raced in recent times, he has some class and is at very backable odds.
Over at Newcastle, the 14:05 is the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth over 2m. Only two horses have won this event three times before, but I fully expect Buveur d’Air to become the third for Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty. He’s the class act in the field and should win on the bridle. Put him in some doubles and trebles with a few of my other selections!
The other race at Newcastle is the Rehearsal Chase which carries Listed status over nearly 3m at 15:20. Lake View Lad was pulled up in the Grand National when last seen, prior to that had been a fine third in the Ultima Chase at Cheltenham. Another for the Alexander family he might be worth risking a few quid on each-way in what is not quite the test it once was.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
Newbury 13:50 Soul Emotion – 8/1
Newbury 14:25 Elvis Mail – 5/1
Newbury 15:00 Elegant Escape – 9/1
Newbury 15:40 No Comment – 14/1
Newcastle 14:05 Buveur d’Air – 2/7
Newcastle 15:20 Lake View Lad – 5/1
* Prices and entries are correct at time of publication