Four To Follow: Super surprise in store

With Warwick and Uttoxeter, it really is a Super Saturday at Newbury today. We’ve got star quality with Shishkin in the Denman and the ultra-competitive Betfair Hurdle with trainers from both sides of the Irish Sea looking to land the big pot. Here’s four to look out for on the card in Berkshire today.


Super Sam

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2:05 – Denman Chase (Grade Two) – Sam Brown @ 11/1 (William Hill, Boylesports, BetUK)

With heavy ground setting the precedent for the day, it makes sense to back the mud-lovers. Despite Shishkin being odds-on, he got pulled on heavy ground when it was similar ground at Sandown back in December. Nicky Henderson has said he will not pull the horse due to the ground, but we’ve seen it happen before.

Protektorat hasn’t won a race in over a year, Hitman can’t travel three miles and Does He Know won’t act on the ground. It makes sense to back Sam Brown after his Classic Chase demolition on soft ground at Warwick last month. A three-time winner on heavy ground has seen his odds slash in half and it makes sense to back him against a vulnerable Shishkin.


Surprise result

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2:40 – Game Spirit Chase (Grade Two) – Boothill @ 9/4 (William Hill)

With Editeur Du Gite confirmed to be pulled, four runners will go to post for a rather lacklustre renewal of the Game Spirit Chase. Edwardstone drops back to two miles after disappointing in the Silviniaco Conti Chase, but the ground looks as though is against him as it will be for his other three opponents.

There’s only one pound in favour for Edwardstone over Boothill and Amarillo Sky. Amarillo Sky hasn’t run since last year’s Champion Chase, and Boothill is by far the most successful horse in the field. Despite the ground being as testing as it is, Boothill could spring a surprise in the mud against a top two-mile chaser.


French fancy

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3:15 – Betfair Hurdle (Premier Handicap) – Ocastle Des Mottes @ 6/1 (William Hill)

When Willie Mullins brings one over, for a big handicap, heads do turn. The fact this is a French arrival, and a good one at that, turns even more heads. Despite after a break of over 230 days, Ocastle Des Mottes will be fully prepared for the challenge. Plus, his previous form on heavy ground in France will benefit him massively.

Spirit D’Aunou will relish this ground. Two out of his last three wins have come on testing surfaces. And despite being raised 10lbs, and second in the weights, the ground will override those factors. Gary Moore has been focused on this race for him, the fact the ground has come up heavy is a massive plus. 9/1 (BetVictor, Boylesports) seems fair, but it could be backed in the morning.

Nigel Twiston-Davies has won this race three times in the last ten years. Five out of the last ten years have been double figure prices. If you follow those simple trends, you’ll find Norman Fletcher. His last win came on heavy ground and was convincing. This is his first time in this company, and he comes in under the radar at a rather low weight. If he wins at 25/1 (General), we won’t be stuck eating porridge.


Bumper bonus

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4:25 – Beacons Bumper (NHF Race, Listed) – Union Avenue @ 4/1 (General)

In a race I wouldn’t usually tip, there’s a few things I like about Union Avenue. Firstly, Jimmy Moffat is bringing this horse down from Cumbria, which must mean he thinks a lot about this horse. Secondly, the trainer is a soft ground merchant. Out of his 18 winners, with five on heavy going. Thirdly, Union Avenue finished behind a certain Captain Bellamy on his final point-to-point start, with the form franked when he won at Chepstow in October.

The very best of luck

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