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Saturday Horse Racing tips

February 7th, 2015

Today’s Betfair Hurdle looks as competitive as ever and the puzzle facing punters is made harder by uncertainty over how the ground will ride. Although it is described as being primarily good to soft, it is likely to ride much softer as it has been under the frost covers for the last few days. With a fierce end to end gallop also assured, the winner is likely to be a strong traveller and a strong stayer.

Betfair Hurdle

We were going to tip Sign Of Victory, but sadly Nicky Henderson’s charge is a non-runner.

Henderson’s record in the race is outstanding and his other runner, Vasco Du Ronceray, also has to be respected and he looks way over priced at 40/1 with Sky Bet (as short as 25/1 elsewhere).

He got his career back on track with a win at Haydock last time out and ticks the boxes as a horse who goes smoothly through his races, yet has form over further than this 2m. He also loves cut underfoot.

John Quinn and Harry Fry each have two horses in the race and if you can pick which of the pair is the stronger then there is a good chance you will have found the winner.

For Fry, Activial has obvious claims based on his comeback effort at Ascot recently, but Jolly’s Cracked It is potentially less exposed having yet to venture into handicap company. He often pulls too hard in his races, so the pace of this contest should help his jockey to get him settled and all his best form is on soft ground. Bet365 are offering the best odds of 20/1 (just 12/1 with William Hill).

Also unexposed is Chieftain’s Choice, and Quinn won this race with a similar type in Recession Proof in 2011. There is every chance he may not be up to this steep rise in class, but equally he has won his last two starts with any amount in hand so with 20/1 available this morning he was very much on the shortlist, as was Forced Family Fun, who has better claims than his odds suggest.

However, the other one to be on is Goodwood Mirage.

Jonjo O’Neill also has a great record in the race and his horses are back in form at last. They were bang out of form when this gelding last ran, so that effort can be ignored and, in any event, O’Neill’s horses often bounce back to win after pulling up on their previous start. He has threatened to win a big race ever since switching to hurdles and today could be the day.

Vasco Du Ronceray (ew) 
3.35 Newbury
40/1 Sky Bet
Goodwood Mirage (ew) 
3.35 Newbury
18/1 Bet365 & Sky Bet
Jolly’s Cracked It (ew) 
3.35 Newbury
20/1 Bet365 

Away from the big handicap the feature contests are the Game Spirit and the Denman Chase.

The Game Spirit Chase

The former sees the return of Sire De Grugy, who should win easily if back to his best.

The going may be softer than Uxizandre would like, whilst Mr Mole can be a bit quirky, so the value bet against the current two mile champion could be Upsilon Bleu, who is proven on the ground and seems to be improving fast. He is a strong traveller who is worth trying in this higher grade.

Upsilon Bleu (ew) 
3.00 Newbury 
12/1 Bet365

Denman Chase

Although he has a fair bit to find on the book, we can’t look past Coneygree in the Denman. The horse has done us a few favours in the past and he looks to have strong credentials in a race in which there are question marks over most of his rivals. For example, Harry Topper and Taquin Du Seuil were both pulled up last time out and the former probably needs even softer ground.

The favourite Houblon Des Obeaux, looks the one to beat, but he may need further to be at his best. Coneygree is the form horse and is very much on the up.

Coneygree (win)
2.25 Newbury
7/2 Bet365
Sky Bet
£200 bonus
£20 free bet

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