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Richard Hoiles: Five selections across Newbury and Newcastle

09 Feb | BY Richard Hoiles | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Hoiles: Five selections across Newbury and Newcastle

The horse racing broadcaster looks ahead to a relatively quiet Saturday of racing and makes his selection for the feature race at Newbury.

After a Dublin Racing Festival that sorted out some pecking orders and muddied the waters in others, it is the rain this week that has muddied some tracks and waterlogged others. Newbury is the sole surviving jumps card in the UK and conditions are certain to be testing.

While there will be probably be an absentee or two, as it currently stands the maximum field of 24 for the Betfair Hurdle is the biggest of the jumps season so far and is more than the two Graded Races and Listed Bumper fields added together. 

Although some changes were made to the Pattern this year, the failure to convert more Grade 2 and Grade 3 races to Limited and Extended Handicaps remains a missed opportunity. Apologies for wheeling out the same arguments again but if you choose to run a genuine Grade 1 horse at a lower level then there needs to be both some jeopardy for that horse and incentive to run for others. 

The Denman Chase is a case in point. On ratings, Shishkin and Protektorat are well clear of the rest of the field, leading to an uncompetitive betting market and, if there is a shock result, a massive ratings hike for the victor. A 14lb weight spread would likely provide more runners and a far better race. If the increased betting turnover for Premierisation is to be realised then basic changes are necessary, else it will be just littered with cakewalks and two separate races within one.

Nicky Henderson is adamant Shiskin will run – or at least line up! – whatever the conditions and, given his ongoing reluctance, the bet has to be PROTEKTORAT / (14:05 Newbury). Shishkin may well have held on in the King George and is clearly a top-class horse but the imperious fluency of his youth has been replaced by a sulky demeanour which, at long odds on, has to make the percentage call to oppose. The other key is to ride Protektorat back, not forward. He has a natural exuberance which seems to make him do too much when ridden from the front. If he is ridden cold and for one late challenge, his chances would be much improved. There are quite a few ifs and buts here, but a price of around 9-4 in a match where his rival may not consent to jump off looks too much to resist. The other angle in could be Sam Brown each-way. He will love the mud, but you would need all five to line up, which, given the changing ground since declarations, is at the time of writing not certain.

The Game Spirit Chase sees Edwardstone on the comeback trail and Boothill trying to stake his claim as a plausible challenger to El Fabiolo and Jonbon. Personally, I think the race will only serve to show that the pair who currently head the market for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase are much superior to the rest and set up a great Anglo-Irish Festival clash.

The Betfair Hurdle is clearly very competitive and there is always the chance of a handicap blot, but conditions will be attritional and could suit those with experience rather than potential. LOOKAWAY / (15:15 Newbury) has an uncomplicated run style, jumps well and ran really well in both the Greatwood and the Challow this campaign. Neil King’s quiet time last season has meant he started a little lower in the ratings than he might have, so hopefully he can be right in the thick of the finish here.

INCH HOUSE (15:50 Newbury) is a horse with lots of talent but also a quirky side. Newbury suits his style in that he travels well but can’t be put in front until late on. At Cheltenham he put in a scruffy round of jumping, and the up hill and down dale nature of the track seemed to get in the way of his rhythm. Jonjo O’Neill Jr knows his foibles well and he can regain the winning thread and make it 3/3 at the course.

Away from Newbury, LOCHNAVER (15:35 Newcastle) and AMAYSMONT (19:45 Newcastle) are ones to keep an eye on. Lochnaver is back to mark of her November win over course and distance and the booking of Hollie Doyle catches the eye. Her last two rides for the yard have been winners and it is her first ride for the stable since September and only the 2nd since 2022.

Amaysmont has dropped a long way in the weights but ran better last time when wearing cheekpieces for the first time and has won here off a much higher mark in his Richard Fahey days. He drops into this grade for the first time in his career for a stable whose horses have been running well.


WISEACRE (19:30 Wolverhampton) ran a better race than the finishing position suggested on his first start for the stable last time. He had been sold from Archie Watson’s after a Lingfield win that has worked out particularly strongly, he won by twelve lengths and the race threw up four next time out winners, so that even after a big rise in the ratings he may still be more competitive than at first glance.


Our regular list of riders in action at venues where they have a good career record. A reminder that success is based on Actual/Expected Ratio (A/E), where the number of winners is compared to the Expected value based on Exchange SP’s. This is a better measure than Level Stake Profit as one big priced winner can significantly slew the statistics. One 50-1 winner can show a profit for ages even if it is followed by 25 short priced losers.

Newbury – Charlie Deutsch (13/59, A/E 1.51, so 51% more winners than the market predicted)

Newcastle – Jonny Peate (27/165, A/E 1.51)

Wolverhampton – Rossa Ryan (128/668, A/E 1.26)


PROTEKTORAT / (14:05 Newbury)
LOOKAWAY / (15:15 Newbury)
LOCHNAVER (15:35 Newcastle)
INCH HOUSE (15:50 Newbury)
AMAYSMONT (19:45 Newcastle)


The three strands – Selections, Jockeys For Courses and Stable Tracker are assessed individually, along with an overall performance again compared to A/E Ratios.

Selections: 3/3.28, A/E 0.91

Jockeys For Courses: 5/5.44, A/E 0.92

Stable Tracker: 3/2.27, A/E 1.32

Overall: 11/10.99, A/E 1.00

So far an almost exact break even performance across the whole three strands. There would be a level-stake profit of £2.07 but as explained above that measure is less accurate, being partly skewed by a 14-1 winner in the Stable Tracker section.

Visit Betway’s horse racing betting page.

Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.

Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.