Jumps racing returns to the mainstream TV this Saturday as the Showcase meeting kickstarts the new National Hunt season. At the same time, we have the last Group 1 of the British and Irish Flat season with the Futurity Trophy at Doncaster. Our team of Racing experts have looked through both cards to give you their best bets for the weekend, as well as a bonus selection from Newbury. Prediction & Betting Tips Cheltenham, Doncaster & Newbury.
Doncaster Racecourse Prediction
This is the final Group 1 of the British Flat season and with a lot of rain falling, it will become a real stamina test for these 2-year-olds on the Heavy ground at Doncaster. Aiden O’Brien has won 4 of the last 6 renewals of this race and so his runners clearly need to be respected, but there are claims from the home team, not least from the supplemented entry, Ancient Wisdom. The Listed Pat Eddery Stakes at Ascot in July has proven to be one of the strongest pieces of form to follow this summer and since finishing 3rd and 5th respectively, both Ancient Wisdom and Dancing Gemini have taken their forms to new levels since. Ancient Wisdom was an impressive winner of the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket a couple of weeks ago and it is interesting to see that Godolphin has chosen to supplement him for this race on the back of that effort. He has an official rating of 113 from the BHA handicapper, which actually puts him a few pounds clear in this field and given that his dam was a winner on Heavy ground in France, he should be able to handle these more testing conditions.
Cheltenham Racecourse Prediction
We begin with a competitive handicap chase on the Old course. Haddex des Obeaux has proved very popular since the markets opened for this race on Monday, and he does arrive here after a pair of wins at Doncaster and Warwick last season. He won by 19-lengths when he was last seen and the placed horses both won next time, so the handicapper was probably justified in giving him a 10lb rise. The concern would be that he hasn’t been seen since and despite the recent rain, the ground is likely to be quicker on Saturday than it was at Warwick back in January. He has some talented rivals to concede weight to and with the yard slightly below their usual strike rate, he is worth taking on.
Triple Trade appeals most. Joe Tizzards 7-year-old took his time to get the hang of chasing, but he ended last season in great form, winning with ease at Wincanton and Kempton when he was last seen. The form of the Kempton race worked out well as the 2nd won next time and the 3rd would have won if not coming to grief at the final fence in a Stratford Handicap Chase. A mark of 129 looks very fair and with a low riding weight, he looks good value to continue his improvement.
4:10 Novices’ Chase
On paper this looks like being one of the most informative races of the meeting. Several of these have run well at the highest level over hurdles, but the most obvious candidate is the dual Stayers’ hurdle winner Flooring Porter. Gavin Cromwell’s charge is an 8-year-old, but he has held his form well and with an official rating of 156 he is very well treated at the weights here if he can match his hurdles form over the larger obstacles. He should be able to lead here, which suits on the old course and there is enough encouragement from his pedigree to suggest that he should be able to jump a fence. His connections have chosen to come to Cheltenham because he needs to go left-handed and there were limited options for him at home in Ireland. He is best forgiven his last run over hurdles when he was outclassed by some course specialists in the French Champion Hurdle at Auteuil and is better judged on his solid efforts at both the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals instead. If he takes to fences, he should win.
4:45 Cheltenham & South West Racing Club NHF Race
The Kemble Brewery
Although there are some interesting pedigrees on show amongst the newcomers, it was very hard not to be impressed by the way that the Kemble Brewery dispatched some experienced rivals at Huntingdon back in the Spring and he may well be capable of conceding the penalty here. Kim Bailey has made a very promising start to the new season, with 3 winners and 4 places from his last 10 runners and he does look to have one of the more promising British bumper horses on his hands. This race has been won by the likes of Moon Racer (2014) and I am Maximus (2020) in recent years, and it will be interesting to see how high The Kemble Brewery can go if he wins this.
Newbury Racecourse Prediction
Whilst Cheltenham and Doncaster do take centre stage, there is also a decent card to finish the Flat season at Newbury and the St Simon Stakes looks to present one of the best betting opportunities of the day with Hamish. William Haggas’ charge has a brilliant record at this level and on soft ground and his connections have chosen to wait for this race rather than chancing their arm at Champions Day last week. He has 5lbs in hand on the rest of this field and in conditions that will definitely suit, he should be very hard to beat.