It’s been a relatively recent development in jump racing to restrict races to veterans – a sort of equine Seniors Tour. Over fences the cut off is 10 years and older, the opening race at Newbury stretches the concept to 8 year old and over for hurdlers.
By dropping the age limit it remains mainly the preserve of tired pensioners, but it does just open the gap for a few late blooming types. Two such types clash at Newbury.
Justification won easily last time at Sandown – the handicapper has lumbered him with an extra 9lbs, that may not be enough but it will certainly make things harder.
Western Climate is a novice having switched relatively late from point-to-points, and now competing in his first handicap. The handicapper had two key runs to consider, and a mark of 128 is broadly in line with this horse’s November run.
Last time out, just 3 weeks ago, Western Climate beat Gayebury, and if that run were taken literally, then he should be carrying an extra stone here. Even if he has half of that in hand it must make him a huge favourite to beat a field mostly in their dotage.
Recommendation: Western Climate (13:30 Newbury), 10-3 (Ladbrokes and others)