Fighting Fifth Hurdle tips as Epatante faces Monmiral at Newcastle

Who do Paddy's pundits think'll win the feature at Newcastle?

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Newcastle’s Fighting Fifth Hurdle normally drops a few Cheltenham clues for the Champion Hurdle – and Saturday is unlikely to be any different with six slick runners set to go to post.

Epatante is back to defend her title after a 4¼l defeat of Sceau Royal in last year’s renewal but Alan King’s charge is on a hat-trick after a brilliant start to the season.

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Monmiral was the leading juvenile hurdler last season and puts his unbeaten record on the line while you can never discount Grade 1 winner Silver Streak. Not So Sleepy guarantees a hot pace from the off and the outsider, Voix Du Reve, completes the field.

Who do our experts fancy to be first past the post in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle 2021? You’ll just have to keep on reading to discover their top tips and best bets.

Matt Chapman: EPATANTE is not my favourite horse but she really should be too good for this bunch for Nicky Henderson and Aidan Coleman. The 2020 Champion Hurdle victor has only raced twice this year and was last seen finishing third at Punchestown behind Honeysuckle. It was still a fair effort, though, and her turn of speed should be the potent weapon in a decent renewal.

Mick Fitzgerald: Hard to look past EPATANTE in the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle, especially as she gets the mares and fillies allowance from Monmiral. The gelding is a smart horse and the trainer Paul Nicholls feels he has thrived this summer. However, it is still hard for a four-year-old to bridge the gap to Epatante with the allowance and that just swings it for the Nicky Henderson-trained mare.

Paddy Power: I know Epatante always wins first time out, but we know what she is and I don’t expect here to be any better than what we’ve seen in the past. I’m a fairytale merchant always looking for the next big thing and this one could be a future Champion Hurdle winner. I’m hoping MONMIRAL is as good as he’s looked so far and he can take the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle. This four-year-old is on the up and I’m jumping on the bandwagon folks!

Ruby Walsh: This is a good opportunity for EPATANTE in the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle and this field is very reminiscent of last year’s one. Sceau Royal comes in on the back of winning at Wincanton, he’s in really good form and is on drier ground here. Epatante’s jumping fell apart last year and she’s had an operation to rectify that. I still believe she is the most likely winner if I was forced to pick, but it’s not a race I’d be too keen on backing. I like Monmiral, so I’ll be watching to see how he gets on too.

Timeform: “MONMIRAL has yet to taste defeat and, given the authority in which he scored at Aintree on his final outing of last season, there could be more ability to unlock, so it’s worth taking a chance on him to improve past the more experienced Epatante and Sceau Royal, who will force the selection to pull out all the stops.”

Fighting Fifth Hurdle Tips Summary

Matt Chapman – Epatante
Mick Fitzgerald –
Epatante
Paddy Power –
Monmiral
Ruby Walsh –
Epatante
Timeform
Monmiral

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