As we hot foot another week closer to the Cheltenham Festival the ITV horse racing cameras will be warming up this Saturday with trips to Newbury, Kelso and Doncaster.
Horse racing fans will have nine races across the three venues to get stuck into with the action running from 1:15 till 3:30 and we have a tip for every single race.
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ITV Racing tips: Newbury trends and best bets
1.15 – Play Pick 6 And Win £1000 Veterans´ Handicap Chase (Qualifier) (Leg 3 of Veterans´ Chase Series) Cl2 3m2f110y ITV
RACE VERDICT: Some old faces on show for this veteran’s race, but the two that stand out are course winner ASO and KAUTO RIKO. The first-named was 8th in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last term and despite being another year older (12 year-old) is holding his form okay.
He’s down to a mark of 142 here and based on the fact he was as high as 158 this time last year, then the handicapper is certainly giving him a chance to gain another victory before a possible retirement. Kauto Riko was fourth behind Chantry House at Cheltenham (Cotswold Chase) last time – beaten 11 ½ lengths.
He’ll should find this drop in grade and also racing against older horses more up his street. Jockey, Kieren Buckley, rides to also claim a useful 5lbs. Of the rest, Indy Five, Prime Venture and Saint Xavier can go well too.
Veteran’s Handicap Chase Trends
- 10/11 – Returned 9/1 or shorter
- 8/11 – Aged 10 years-old
- 9/11 – Won over at least 3m (chase)
- 7/11 – Favourites unplaced
- 1/11 – Winning favourites
1.50 – BetVictor Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 2m4f ITV
RACE VERDICT: A prize the former champion trainer Paul Nicholls loves to win – he’s won the race 9 times in the last 17 renewals. This year he’s got Amour De Nuit and Tamaroc Du Mathan entered.
A lot of useful betting trends to be aware of too for this race, including 15 of the last 17 winners aged 8 or younger, while 16 of the last 17 winners carried 11st 5lbs or less in weight. With these two stats in mind, the Fergal O’Brien entry – DUBLIN FOUR (e/w) – is of interest.
This 8 year-old has just 10st 6lbs to carry and although falling last time out at Ludlow, he was a tidy winner over this course and distance before that. He’s actually won his last two races here at Newbury, so we know the course suits. He’s just 4lbs higher than that last victory and his connections have given him a little break to get over that recent tumble with a 2 ½ month layoff.
Glen Forsa is another to note. He bounced back to winning form at Musselburgh recently and off the back of that will have his supporters. However, at 10 years-old he falls down on the age stat (15 of the last 17 aged 8 or younger).
Senior Citizen (4th last year) and Amoola Gold have a case to run well too, while the Venetia Williams stable, who won this in 2014, have a lively chance with the 7 year-old Farinet.
However, as already mentioned, it’s hard to dismiss the cracking record of the Paul Nicholls stable in this race. He runs two – Amour De Nuit and TAMAROC DU MATHAN (e/w) – and it’s the last-named that’s of more interest with Harry Cobden getting the leg-up. This 7 year-old ticks a lot of the key trends too and with 11st 6lbs is only just over (1lb) the main weight stat.
The horse will be much sharper for a recent fifth at Sandown, which was off a 3 ½ month break and also after a wind operation. With just six runs over fences (2 wins) you also feel there is more in the locker from this Nicholls chaser, who at 7 has time on his side.
Greatwood Gold Cup trends
- 16/17 – Carried 11-5 or less in weight
- 15/17 – Won by a horse aged 8 or younger
- 15/17 – Had run within the last 6 weeks
- 14/17 – Had won between 1-4 times over fences previously
- 14/17 – Won over this trip previously
ITV Racing tips: Doncaster trends and best bets
2.20 – Virgin Bet Mares´ Novices´ Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 3m96y ITV
RACE VERDICT: Some progressive mares line-up here for this Novices’ Hurdle. However, the clear top-rated is the Dan Skelton-trained GET A TONIC. This mare was last seen running second in a Listed Mares race (Warwick) and before that certainly didn’t disgrace when third to the useful Hillcrest at Cheltenham (New Year’s Day). If running to that level again here, she looks the one to beat.
Of the others, Eureka Creek, Gazette Bourgeoise, Miss Fairfax, Holly Hartingo and So Said I have all shown promise in their early runs and are going in the right direction, but this is another step up for them. You feel they will be scrapping it out for the places. Of that bunch, the Hughie Morrison-trained MISS FAIRFAX can give the Skelton horse most to think about. She saw off Eureka Creek easily two runs back at Exeter and has since dotted up at Catterick, albeit at heavy odds-on.
Mares’ Novices Hurdle Trends
- 7/8- Returned 4/1 or shorter in the betting
- 7/8 – Ran in the last 7 weeks
- 7/8 – Aged 5 or 6 years-old
- 6/8 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
- 6/8 – Favourites placed in the top 2
- 4/8 – Won by the favourite (1 co-fav)
2.55 – Virgin Bet Handicap Chase Cl2 2m90y ITV
RACE VERDICT: 8 of the last 9 winners of this race carried 10st 11lbs or more, so this would be a negative for the old timers – Bun Doran (11 years-old) – and recent Musselburgh winner Cedar Hill.
Seven of the last 10 winners were aged between 6-8, so based on this The Big Bite, Return Ticket and Bun Doran, who are all 9+, have this as a negative.
Taking those trends into account, the two that stand out here are MALYSTIC and CHEDDLETON. The first-named is back from a 321-day break and a wind operation but has gone well fresh in the past. He’s also yet to finish out of the first two from (4 runs) over fences and don’t forget he ran Gold Cup hope – Protektorat – to 7 lengths back in October 20.
Cheddleton is a very consistent chaser that has only been out of the first three over fences twice from 8 runs. The handicapper has helped by dropping him another pound, after running off the same mark in his last five races, which further backs up his consistency.
Virgin Bet Handicap Chase Trends
- 10/10 – Priced 15/2 or shorter
- 7/10 – Aged between 6-8 years-old
- 6/10 – Placed 1st or 2nd last time out
- 4/10 – Raced at Musselburgh last time out
- 8 of the last 9 winners carried 10st 11lbs or more
3.30 – Virgin Bet Grimthorpe Chase (A Handicap Chase) Cl2 3m2f ITV
RACE VERDICT: With ALL of the last 17 winners aged 8 or older, this is not great news for leading fancy – Le Milos (7 years-old), despite a battling win at Sandown last time out.
The others that would have this stat against them are Soyouthinksoagain (7) and Undersupervision (6). Storm Control will be expected go out from the front again – just as he did here last time in the Sky Bet Chase. However, he was run down on that day and is also up 4lbs, plus he’s also got another two furlongs to tackle here.
Past Ladbrokes Trophy Chase winner – Cloth Cap – would be a huge player on that run, but has a bit to answer at the moment after refusing at Ascot recently. Powerstown Park won well last time but this looks tougher.
Therefore, we are happy to take a chance on LEGENDS GOLD and SOYOUTHINKSOGAIN. The first-named was pulled up at Wincanton recently, but her trainer (Rebecca Curtis) said after the race, that run came too soon (10 days) after her previous second at Ludlow. She’s since had 44 days off to recharge and also has just 10st 8lbs to carry.
Soyouthinksoagain does have the age trend to against him (7 years-old), but he caught the eye winning well at Catterick last time out and a 4lbs rise in the handicap for that looks fair enough. The Skelton stable also won this race a few years ago, while with just four runs over fences, he should have more improvement to come.
Grimthorpe Chase Trends
- 17/17 – Aged 8 or older
- 16/17 – Won over at least 3m (fences) before
- 15/17 – Won no more than 4 times over fences
- 14/17 – Ran within the last 8 weeks
- 13/17 – Carried 10-13 or less in weight
ITV Racing tips: Kelso trends and best bet
1.32 – bet365 Premier Kelso Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) Cl1 (4 yo+) 2m2f ITV
RACE VERDICT: Some smart novice hurdlers on show here, with 5 of the 10 runners having won last time out. NORTH LODGE is interesting after a smooth victory at Cheltenham at the end of January.
That was in the Grade Two Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle but as a result of already winning at this level does have to give the others 5lbs. Yes, that won’t be easy, but this Alan King runner stays further than this 2m2f distance (won over 2m4f last time), which will be a plus. He also had some nice sorts in behind that day, so you feel there is more to come from this 5 year-old, who is 2-from-2 so far over hurdles.
Of the others, the unbeaten Bold Endeavour looks a nice horse and has to be respected, along with Honneur D’Ajonc and It’s Good To Laugh.
The main danger to the selection, however, can come from the Dan Skelton entry – SHOLOKJACK. A winner at Wetherby at the end of January, which was on the back of his hurdles debut win at Leicester. The stable also have a 33% record with their hurdlers at the course and also targeted this race 12 months ago with their classy My Drogo.
Premier Kelso Novices’ Hurdle Trends
- 12/13 – Aged 7 or younger
- 12/13 – Favourites placed in the top three
- 11/13 – Raced in the last 7 weeks
- 11/13 – Placed in the top 4 last time out
- 9/13 – Returned 6/1 or shorter in the betting
- 9/13 – Had won at least twice over hurdles before
- 8/13 – Won last time out
- 4/13 – Winning favourite
2.05 – bet365 Handicap Hurdle (Gbb Race) Cl2 (4yo+) 2m5f ITV
RACE VERDICT: Famous Bridge would have won last time out until unseating Brian Hughes at Kelso – with a bit more luck would be a big player here. Hart Of Steel will catch the eye of punters with two wins next to his name but is up another 4lbs here.
Elvis Mail has been second the last twice here and can go well again, while course winner Kaizer, Get Out The Gate and Aurora Thunder are others to note.
However, this could be another for the Dan Skelton team as their 33% record with their hurdlers here is hard to ignore. They run – WILDE ABOUT OSCAR and FLASH THE STEEL. The former can be expected to be better for a recent fourth at Huntingdon as it came after 2 months off, and a wind op. Dropped 4lbs too and having won off a 5lbs higher mark this time last year looks well-treated.
Flash The Steel also would have needed the run last time at Wetherby (pulled up) as it came off a 445-day lay-off. Prior to that break he’d been very progressive, so the fact he’s been dropped 5lbs since and connections are also putting up Tristan Durrell to claim 7lbs is interesting.
bet365 Handicap Hurdle Trends
- Just one previous run
- Paul Nicholls trained the winner in 2021 (Flash Collonges)
- Trainer Dan Skelton has a 33% record with his hurdlers at the track
- Trainer Keith Dalgleish has a 19% record with his hurdlers at the track
2.40 – bet365 Premier Chase (Listed Race) (Gbb Race) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m 7 1/2f) ITV
RACE VERDICT: Big River is a proven CD winner that’s in-form after winning his last two races at this track – but is up in class here and will need more. It was hard to crab the Sky Bet Chase win of Windsor Avenue last time too – running down Storm Control to win by 3 ¼ lengths. He’s up 7lbs for that and with 7 of the last 8 winners failing to win last time out we are happy to look elsewhere from these two recent winners.
ESPOIR DE ROMAY can be expected to have a big chance after this recent third at Carlisle to Fiddlerontheroof. That came after a 205-day absence so will be more ‘match fit’ this time. He’s the clear top-rated in the race and the step up in distance is expected to be fine. Itchy Feet looks a huge danger though after a close second to Two For Gold at Lingfield last time and the form of that has since been boosted with that horse running second in the Ascot Chase. The concern would be the longer trip and, despite running well this season, has now not won in his last 9 races.
Of the others, NUTS WELL (e/w) can run a nice race too. He was pulled up in the race Windsor Avenue won last time but had a lot of weight that day. Out of handicap company here will help for this course winner, who has actually won his last two races here at the Scottish venue.
bet365 Premier Chase Trends
- 7/8 – Ran in the last 6 weeks
- 7/8 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
- 7/8 – Didn’t win last time out
- 7/8 – Favourites placed 1st or 2nd
- 6/8 – Had run at the course before
3.15 – bet365 Morebattle Hurdle (Handicap Hurdle) (Gbb Race) Cl2 (4yo+) 2m ITV
RACE VERDICT: The Harry Fry-trained Metier was a nice winner at Lingfield last time out, but the concern would be that he’s up 7lbs for that and will the ground be soft enough for him? He’s at his best on soft/heavy ground.
The race also has a nice subplot to it with the former 2-time Champion Hurdle winner – Buveur D’Air – in the line-up. He’s now 11 years-old though and it’s no secret he’s had his issues in recent seasons. He’s also back from a 331-day break and hasn’t won a race since 2019 – that said, he’s only raced three times. The positive is that top jockey Nico de Boinville makes the trip up to do the steering, which looks a good sign he’s well at home, and Henderson has also won this prize three times since 2012. Severance and Faivior have claims at fair prices.
But the two of interest here are AUTUMN EVENING and CORMIER (e/w). The last-named got the better of Severance last time at Cheltenham and can maintain that form on similar terms with just 10st 7lbs to carry. Autumn Evening comes over from the Jessie Harrignton yard in Ireland and was last seen running a fine third at Leopardstown at the Dublin Racing Festival. After Buveur D’Air, he’s the second top-rated in the line-up and at just 5 years-old and only 9 previous runs over hurdles should have more scope than most in the race.
bet365 Morebattle Hurdle Trends
- 10/10 – Returned 9/2 or shorter in the betting
- 10/10 – Had run in the last 3 months
- 9/10 – Carried 11-2 or more in weight
- 6/10 – Aged 5 or 6 years-old
- 6/10 – Rated between 138-146
- 5/10 – Winning favourites
- 3/10 – Won last time out
- 3/10 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
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