Great racing this afternoon, with the highlight for me the return to the track of Long Run ahead of his Gold Cup defence. The Nicky Henderson trained horse has twice been defeated by Kauto Star, but faces an easier task today and should return to winning ways ahead of next months’ Cheltenham showpiece.
The re-arrangement of this fixture, having been called off on Saturday, means our ante-post wager on Third Intention in the Betfair 20£ in Free bets! Hurdle is still in play. Recommended at 26.00, the Colin Tizzard trained horse is now generally priced 13.00 and I am very hopeful we will be reaping some reward this afternoon.
For my first selection today though, I was drawn to the fact that Sam Twiston-Davies was not at Newbury for either of the two horses trained by his father Nigel. Whilst it could be Twiston-Davies Snr wanted to get weight off those horses and is using the younger son Willie to claim 5lbs, I took a close look at the horses Sam is riding at Sandown. Of his two rides for his father, the one that stands out for me is 11-y-o Beat The Boys, who runs in the three mile handicap chase at 14.10. Although he has been off the track for 10 months it is significant that Beat The Boys runs well first time out, having won twice and been placed in his last four seasonal reappearances. He is on an encouraging mark, 6lbs lower than when last successful and with trainer Twiston-Davies having a winner yesterday after the weather break, I believe represents outstanding each-way value today. At 21.00 Beat The Boys should be backed with Bet365.
Back at Newbury the other horse that I like today is Donald McCain’s Our Mick and hence take on my colleague Sean in the 14:55 Novice Chase. There are five or six with chances in this excellent two and half mile event, but the one I want on my side is the 6-y-o grey seeking his fourth consecutive win. After a couple of sighters, this horse has gone from strength to strength and the form of his win at Kempton on Boxing Day has been well franked by Bless The Wings who won nicely at Cheltenham a couple of weeks ago. With jockey Jason Maguire saying after Kempton “He jumped left at times and may be better going that way round”, Our Mick duly obliged at Haydock on heavy ground that he “hated”. Back on decent ground and going his favoured left-handed way around again, Our Mick represents good value at 9.00 with William Hill 25£ Free bet with code F25 to win the 14:55 at Newbury.
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