There is a significant trial for the Champion Hurdle and one of the most prestigious handicap chases of the season on Saturday. The action takes place in the north east and south of England at Newcastle and Newbury racecourses. The Fighting Fifth Hurdle and Ladbrokes Trophy Chase are the highlights of the televised racing but both are key in the context of more important races later in the season. Samcro and Kemboy, both trained in Ireland, can put down markers for bigger tests.
The big hurdle race at Newcastle is a Grade 1 race over two miles and half a furlong and horses aged four and over are eligible. It’s the first leg in the Road to Cheltenham series which also includes the International Hurdle and Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. It’s a recognized trial for the big one in March. Buveur D’Air won the race last season and then won a second successive Champion the following March. Two horses won three renewals back in the 1970’s and Irving was the winner in 2014 and 2016. The race has a history of producing multiple winners.
Samcro was still scheduled to run on Thursday so a great race and showdown is on the cards. Samcro and Buveur D’Air are first and second favourites for the Champion Hurdle so the race on Saturday will be a good form guide. Despite being one of the best novices last season Samcro has not delivered against seasoned hurdlers. The horse is a potential winner of the Gold Cup and not going chasing this season is a surprise. Maybe connections are looking at Samcro being just the second horse ever to win the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup because he has the scope to emulate Dawn Run. However, Sommerville Boy could be the fly in the ointment on Saturday.
The winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the festival in March is running against experienced and proven horses for the first time. The way Sommerville Boy won at Cheltenham suggests the horse could be something special. Mistakes at the last two hurdles would have cost lesser horse the race but Sommerville Boy recovered and stormed up the hill to record a narrow win in the festival opener. The Fighting Fifth brings together the best novices from last season and the Champion hurdler in a race which can establish Samcro is the best horse over hurdles in Britain and Ireland.
The Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury was called the Hennessy for many years and some stalwarts still call the race that name. It’s a handicap chases over three miles and two furlongs and has a history of being a good form guide for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National. Since 2012 the winner has then won one of the two biggest chases of the season three times. Native River won the race in 2016 and won the Gold Cup in March. It’s a race in which horses in the first season out of novice company also have a good record. Kemboy has an excellent profile for the race.
Samcro and Kemboy are trained by Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins in Ireland. Both trainers have wealthy backers and dominate jumps racing at home. Their horses are primed and ready to take two big pots back across the Irish Sea.
Today’s Sports Betting Preview – By Rick Elliott
Cardiff Can Beat Out Of Form Wolves
Cardiff and Wolves have history from their time in the Championship because a crucial fixture ended in acrimony last season. Wolves won that match in south Wales but the outcome could be different in Cardiff tonight. The home team are in the relegation places and the excellent start made by Wolves in the Premier League has been negated by four defeats in their last five matches.
Despite having potentially the more experienced players proven at a higher level Wolves were outplayed by Huddersfield at home last Sunday and lost the match quite comfortably. Wolves have not scored more than one goal in seven league matches on the road. CARDIFF are the team to back at 29/10 with Betfair to record a third home win of the season.
Its FA Cup weekend and there are 20 ties in the second round. The winners go into the pot with the Premier League big boys. The Golden Ticket of an away match against Manchester United and life changing gate receipts is getting closer. For non-league teams losing at the second round stage is akin to losing a semi-final for the bigger clubs.
Solihull Moors are one step away from that potential dream tie but BLACKPOOL are tipped to win on one of the smallest grounds in the fifth tier. The League One team are in the mix for promotion to the Championship but can also reach the third round of the FA Cup by beating Solihull in 90 minutes on the road and that outcome is 19/20 with bet365.
The best bet of the night could be Dundee United to beat Ayr at home in the Scottish Championship at odds against. The visitors are the league leaders but their opponents have won five of their last six fixtures since the appointment of a new manager. DUNDEE UNITED are an improving team playing with enough confidence to win this fixture and a home win can be backed at 11/10 with Ladbrokes.
There is a decent televised card at Newbury today on the first day of the track’s winter festival. It seems just about anything that lasts more than one day is called a festival and what we actually have is what for many years was the first day of the Hennessy (Ladbrokes Trophy) meeting. UKNOWHATIMEAMHARRY is not bothered about word games and the horse is the nap in the 3.00 race at 7/2 with William Hill.