Newbury 13:50 – Speedo Boy
Speedo Boy did this column a favour about a fortnight ago when winning at Cheltenham. Admittedly there were several flights of hurdles omitted on that occasion, but when he did have to jump them he did so far more fluently than I had anticipated. More importantly he showed a really willing attitude up the hill, something I hadn’t expected from him.
I don’t anticipate the ground will be too different on this occasion, and he’s a perfectly feasible fancy off his new mark.
Newcastle 14:05 – Summerville Boy
I think there are compelling reasons for backing Summerville Boy.
Firstly, he’s a supremely talented horse who would have won the Supreme Novices Hurdle a lot further last year had he not nearly fallen two hurdles from home. I can’t think of many horses in training who can survive a mistake like that and still win a Supreme Novices.
He’s not short of pace and from what I’ve seen he’s fairly adaptable in regard to the ground and of course he remains open to significant progression.
Nicky Henderson is already on record in saying that Buveur D’Air will probably need the run and that he is a stuffy horse, and he’ll need to be right on his A-Game in any case.
Whilst the gilt came off the Samcro ginger bread slightly on his seasonal debut, and whilst I remain very excited about Gordon Elliott’s son of Germany, I’m not absolutely convinced that he’s destined to be a two-mile hurdler.
Newbury 14:25 – Lisp
This looks an incredibly competitive running of this race, and I had a job splitting my two chief fancies for the race in Global Citizen and Lisp.
The chances are I’ll back both, but if forced I would just give the edge to Lisp, who I thought won with a fair bit more in hand than even the large winning margin at Fontwell would suggest, whilst still looking rather green and inexperienced in front.
Lisp is bred to be pretty smart and may yet be ahead of the handicapper coming from a stable beginning to come into very good form. I respect Global Citizen enormously, because I was pretty convinced after Kempton last year that he was a championship horse in the making so much that a mark of 146 may not stop him.
Newbury 15:00 – Dingo Dollar
Not the deepest running of this prestigious handicap, and I’m hoping that Dingo Dollar can prove himself a 6-year-old with a very bright future.
When he was second at the Scottish Grand National meeting at Ayr last year, I was seriously taken with how he jumped and travelled on a track with similar dimensions to Newbury. More to the point he carried 11-12 on that occasion, conceding nearly a stone to the unconsidered winner and with another summer under his belt and a pipe opener over hurdles, he looks to have had the perfect preparation for this.
Truth be told, he’s come on the scene rather quietly and with no great fanfare, but his whole career has been one of quiet progression and he can take a hand here for a trainer who has won this race before.
Of the others, American might be the forgotten horse in this having started as favourite last year, and his trainer Harry Fry reports to have had a much smoother preparation this time around. The Young Master might still be ahead of the handicapper also, despite being around forever.
Newcastle 15:20 – Otago Trail
Some trainers are brilliant at getting horses back from a layoff and Venetia Williams is one of them.
Otago Trail won this race two years ago, beating no less than Bristol De Mai and Definitly Red who are two of the best chasers in training.
He reappears off a very competitive mark, in a much weaker event and if he’s raring to go he simply must be backed at double figure odds. Stable encouragingly had a winner with Aso on Friday afternoon.
Newbury 15:35 – Dicosimo
This is a bit of an all or bust selection, well maybe it’s not as I’m tipping him each way!
Dicosimo boasts some smart form when trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland, and after a wind operation he took advantage of a mark not too dissimilar to today’s when scoring over hurdles for Warren Greatrex last season.
Evidently, he’s a chancy proposition, but he remains well handicapped on the guts of his Irish chase form. He doesn’t mind decent ground and you can forget his comeback run as he belted the first and never really got into any sort of a rhythm.
At his current odds of 25/1, I’ll be throwing a few quid on him back at 2 miles.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.