The Grade 2 novices’ hurdle at Warwick (3pm) has an impressive roll of honour and the Classic Handicap Chase was won last season by the horse who won the Grand National in the spring. This year’s renewals could be just as informative in the context of future major races and Callett Mad and Goodtoknow are the horses to note in their respective races at Warwick. Matt Chapman will be reporting from the track after another assignment in his varied career was put on ice.
Chapman knows the ins and outs of racing and is at home in the betting ring. His unique skills do not transfer well but now he can focus on racing after being sacked as the summariser for Dancing On Ice. He should have the good grace and self-awareness to take that blow on the chin and handle it with humour and it will be interesting to see if the ITV Corporation allows Ed Chamberlain to take the mickey out of a colleague he doesn’t seem to like.
At least Chapman has his racing interests to focus on and he’ll be all over the fact that The New One is a former winner of the feature hurdle and One For Arthur won the long distance handicap chase last season three months before winning the National at Aintree. Willoughby Court won the standout hurdles race on the Warwick card last season and then won a championship contest in the division at the Cheltenham Festival. Calett Mad could be in the same class.
The horse is quoted at around the 25/1 mark for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival but that price could be cut with an impressive win at Warwick. If you want to have a speculative bet before today’s race you should back Calett Mad with bookmakers that are offering non-runner no bet on all 28 races at the jumps meeting that matters most. The concession has been introduced much earlier than usual due to unclear running plans and confused ante post markets.
Calett Mad has the best form in the field and is trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies who is also the trainer of The New One so he has positive mental associations with the Warwick race. The horse had two impressive wins early in the season but then ran poorly upped in class at Cheltenham. Today’s race is weaker so Calett Mad can get a promising novice hurdles’ season back on track and enter the picture for Cheltenham.
One For Arthur won the three miles five furlongs marathon over fences last year. The horse started at 14/1 so was not fancied but in retrospect was a massive handicap blip carrying less than eleven stone. Goodtoknow is trained by Kerry Lee who is a dab hand in this type of race. Her horse can emulate One For Arthur by winning the race but doesn’t stand out as a potential National winner but that could all change at Huntingdon today. It would be a fine weight-carrying effort to prevail and a decisive win for Goodtoknow could cause a shake-up in the National betting. The double on Callett Mad and Goodtoknow pays almost 80/1.