A few punting gems from Newbury and Newcastle
With the Hennessey Gold Cup providing the last two Cheltenham Gold Cup winners, we could be in for something special this Saturday. If you add in the seasonal reappearance of World Hurdle winner More of That and the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, you really do have a special day’s racing. With many intriguing handicaps on Channel 4 there could be plenty of value on offer.
Take on the favourites in the Hennessey
With this week’s big gamble on ante-post favourite Djakadam, there appears to be little to no value about his price. At a mere 5/1 it seems like the best option is to look elsewhere. It is difficult to know whether he would have won the JLT Novices’ at Cheltenham, as in my opinion he fell too far out. He is not a proven stayer as he is yet to encounter the trip and would bid to become the first ever five-year old winner of the race. My preference is Paul Nicholls’ trained Rocky Creek. At current odds of 9/1 he seems great value. He is only five lbs higher than when he was second in the race last year. His seasonal reappearance showed a lot of promise and with his trainer stating he will come on for the run. A principle danger could be last season’s RSA second Smad Place. The 7/1 shot is two from two at the course and could be a good selection to follow Rocky Creek home. With second season chasers holding a good record in the race, the Alan King trained horse would hold every chance.
Five Star value in the Fighting Fifth
With Faugheen’s win at Ascot last week, Willie Mullins looks to score another big hurdling prize with Arctic Fire in the Fighting Fifth. The five-year-old seems like good value to take on the even money favourite, Irving. At current odds of 11/4 there is a lot to like. His latest run was very promising when only being beaten by highly progressive Little King Robin. He brings more high class form to the table with his Cheltenham Festival second. The favourite Irving looked like he would have won last time but for falling at the last, but at such short odds is worth taking on here. If you look back to his run in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham he was a very average ninth, despite being sent off joint favourite. This appears to be a weak renewal of the Fighting Fifth which has every chance of going the way of the Irish with my selection Arctic Fire.
Don’t look past Hammersly Lake
Newbury provides some interesting handicaps for punters on Saturday including the 1.50. My selection is Nicky Henderson’s Hammersly Lake. He ran a very good second at Cheltenham last month after coming back from nearly a year off the track. Given it was only his second start in Britain it appears he could well have more to give for his powerful connections. It appears he would come on greatly for last month’s run. The chief danger could be Exitas, who less than a fortnight ago ran a creditable sixth in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting. That run came off the back of three consecutive wins and he could have the chance to get back to winning ways in a less competitive race. With Conor Shoemark taking a valuable three lbs off his back he could have a handy weight. He appears highly progressive and may well follow home my selection Hammersly Lake. A mention must be given to Paul Nicholls Silsol who goes to Newbury looking to complete a hat trick of victories. With Jack Sherwood taking seven lbs off his back he drops to a more workable weight. However Hammersly Lake still appears to be the one to side with.