Chris Day is back with five early fancies across the Saturday cards at Newbury and Kelso.
Racing betting tips: Saturday March 25
1pt win Hands Off in 1.30 Newbury at 25/1 (General)
1pt win Riders Onthe Storm in 2.05 Newbury at 20/1 (Betfred, Coral, Ladbrokes)
1pt win Party Business in 2.25 Kelso at 7/1 (Unibet)
1pt win Anti Bridgie in 2.40 Newbury at 25/1 (General)
1pt win Bonttay in 3.00 Kelso at 8/1 (Sky Bet)
Newbury and Kelso stage some competitive racing on Saturday and there are some interesting early betting opportunities.
In the 1.30 Newbury, the Play Pick 6 At BetVictor Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, the Paul Nicholls-trained five-year-old, Matterhorn, would be a very difficult horse to beat if repeating his recent effort at Taunton on his first race back after a wind op, where he spreadeagled a field of ten including the highly-regarded bumper winner of Hughie Morrison’s, Final Encore.
He should have no trouble in defying a penalty based on that but does have an entry in a novice hurdle here on Friday after which I could see him lining up at Aintree next month.
If he doesn’t run, Gary Moore’s Inneston, runner-up in the EBF Final to Crambo, looks the form choice, although he’s only had a fortnight to get over that run in heavy ground and he’s also gone up 7lb in the handicap.
Dual bumper winner, I Hope Star, is also interesting despite not looking to get home over shorter at Lingfield last month and connections must feel there’s loads to come off a mark of 110 once he gets the hang of things, but the one I like most is Nicky Henderson’s five-year-old Getaway gelding, HANDS OFF, another with plenty of scope from his mark.
Watch Race Replay
Unlimited race replays of all UK & Irish racing
Access to exclusive features all for FREE – No monthly subscription fee
Log in with your existing Sporting Life, Sky Bet, or Sky Games account. If you don’t have any of those, it’s completely FREE to register!
He stayed on from an unpromising position at Ascot in November behind Crambo then finished fourth at Doncaster, form which has worked well, but he blotted his copybook last time when running out three out on Town Moor in January.
He’s gone off 5/2 for both those starts, so current odds of 25/1 mark him out as value at this stage for an owner who usually has much higher-rated horses than this.
Heltenham bids for the hat-trick for the Skeltons in the 2.05 BetVictor Handicap Chase after comfortably accounting for How ‘s The Cricket at Ffos Las.
The trainer had a great Cheltenham and clearly knows where he stands with his handicappers so he deserves plenty of respect.
Of those at bigger odds, though, The Big Bite beat a Venetia Williams improver and two 158-rated course specialists so must be feared as he bids to win two races together for the first time since 2018, but the one I really like the look of is RIDERS ONTHE STORM.
He has loads of back class but returned to form at Aintree in October where he defeated Ryanair Chase third, Hitman, in the Old Roan and can run off the same mark here.
He disappointed in December at that track when sent off 7/2 for another handicap and was outclassed behind Shishkin in the Grade One at Ascot five weeks ago, but this looks a great opportunity and, with Gavin Sheehan already jocked up, the 20/1 looks very much on the big side.
The 2.40 British EBF BetVictor National Hunt Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle traditionally features some very well-handicapped mares and it was difficult to get a handle on these with so many converging lines of form.
The one which interested me most was the ANTI BRIDGIE/Aubis Walk race at Kelso in December where the former gave 7lb and a neck beating to the runner up yet gets 5lb from her opponent here.
Anti Bridgie ran well enough in a strong race here last time when filling the minor placing on her first start since a wind operation and can’t be missed at 25/1 for a yard who celebrated their first Cheltenham winner last Friday.
Up at Kelso, the 2.25 Schloss Roxburghe Hotel Handicap Hurdle looks an ideal opportunity for last year’s Aintree winner, PARTY BUSINESS, to return to form for Ian Williams.
Having finished close up in the Pertemps Final, he went on to win the three-mile handicap on Grand National Day and clearly comes to hand in the spring, so I strongly fancy him over this extended trip with its stiff finish and can’t see the 6/1 and 7/1 lasting.
Finally, connections probably had big ideas for BONTTAY, a high-class bumper horse, this season, but she should be capable of rating much higher than 110 in time and looks the value at 8/1 in the BetVictor Herring Queen Series Final at 3.00 for Fergal O’Brien, whose horses have generally been in good form all season.
Published at 1425 GMT on 21/03/23
More from Sporting Life
We are committed in our support of safer gambling. Recommended bets are advised to over-18s and we strongly encourage readers to wager only what they can afford to lose.
If you are concerned about your gambling, please call the National Gambling Helpline / GamCare on 0808 8020 133.