The first big staying handicap chase of the season (1500) highlights a superb Saturday card at Newbury.
Many of us will still call it the Hennessey for at least another decade, although it is now the Ladbroke Gold Cup. Regardless of name, it will, as ever, be at the mercy of quality second season chasers. The market however knows this, with Total Recall, American, and Singlefarmpayment all vying for favouritism.
Total Recall did us a favour when we tipped him for the Limerick National last time. This is an 18lb weight rise and a much better race, add in a relatively poor Irish record in this race and there is plenty to run scared of. That said, it’s Willie Mullins and anything is possible.
American did us a favour when we tipped him for a valuable novice handicap the Saturday after the Cheltenham Festival at Uttoxeter. That screamed Newbury, and the trainer looks to have kept him deliberately under wraps since. But again he needs to defy a weight rise in better class and much though we like the horse, he looks a little short in the market.
Singlefarmpayment owes us a favour after getting pipped on the line in a top Cheltenham Festival handicap when one of our top bets. He again finished second when we tipped him on his seasonal return at the same track. Unlike the other favourites, he carries a similar weight as when hugely competitive in those top races. That may leave him a little less to prove, and our instinct is that this track may suit him better than Cheltenham. He earns the nod.
The supporting card is full of quality. The 2m4f handicap chase (1320) sees a chance to reinvest in Gold Present. He ran a blinder at the Festival, prompting us to lump on over the big Aintree fences where he was cruising when unluckily landing on a loose horse at the Canal Turn. It looks significant that Nicky Henderson has targeted this race rather than a return to Aintree next weekend. He usually has his horses ready first time and Gold Present can win here on his way to better things.
For a last tip we will target the 2m4f handicap hurdle (1350). We have been very impressed with Bryony Frost in recent weeks and she could have a big day with Black Corton and Present Man, but she also has a big shout here with an in form Old Guard. In the end though we have to follow the form, and although Air Horse One is 4lbs higher for finishing fourth at Ascot last time, that form is proving to be golden. Big wins for three of the top five that day have stamped the form, and this race could allow Harry Fry’s charge the chance to further deepen that form line.
Gold Present, (1320 Newbury), 1pt win, 4/1 generally available
Air Horse One, (1350 Newbury), 1pt win, 7/2 generally available
Singlefarmpayment, (1500 Newbury), 1pt win, 7/1 generally available
All three above, 1pt each way treble, approx 179/1.
Please subscribe for notification of up-to-date tips and news, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.