The Cheltenham Festival is just around the corner and we can’t wait for it to start. We have already posted a couple of stats based previews for the Gold Cup and the Champion Hurdle. Watch out for similar Stayers’ Hurdle and Champion Chase previews next week. Today the blog will cover the two big handicaps at Newbury, both live on ITV. Check out Dave Stevos’ Newbury Saturday tips below…
Newbury Saturday Tips: 2.05-Veterans’ Handicap Chase (Class 2 0-150)
These Veterans’ Chases are a great idea as they give familiar old boys a chance to shine on the big stage. Limited to horses aged 10yo or older, the one we like here is the 12yo Houblon Des Obeaux. Few trainers have their strings in better shape than his trainer Venetia Williams right now. She fired in a hat trick at Ffos Las this week and this grand old horse could give her more to shout about on Saturday.
Houblon Des Obeaux won a similar race to this at Sandown on his penultimate start, the last time Charlie Deutsch rode. He didn’t fire at the same track last time, but he had an inexperienced claimer on board. Houblon has a stellar record at Newbury with a win and some superb placed efforts. He was beaten just over 3L by Many Clouds over course and distance in the Hennessey back in 2014. His last visit to the track resulted in a 28L Grade 2 win in 2016.
Given his liking for the track and with Deutsch back doing the steering, it would be no surprise to see this fella bounce back from his poor run last time. Hopefully he is ridden more prominently and he will need to jump better too. If he puts it all together he is still a horse with plenty of ability. At odds of 16/1 Houblon Des Obeaux is our each way pick in an open race (4 places available).
NEWBURY SATURDAY TIPS: HOUBLON DES OBEAUX E/W @ 16/1 4 PLACES
Newbury Saturday Tips: 2.40-Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
Paul Nicholls is back in the big time this season after a short spell in the wilderness. He heads to Cheltenham with a serious bunch of horses and he will be hoping to keep the momentum going this weekend. He runs the top weight Dolos in this and he is shorter in the betting than our selection. However, we prefer the chances of San Benedeto with Nick Schofield back in the plate.
This 8yo flopped on his last two starts, but the return to Newbury looks a big plus. He has had three starts over today’s course and distance and got within 2L of the winner on two of them off 140. He races off a mark of 147 today but he has won off 150 so he is not handicapped out of this, if returning to form.
Nick Schofield gets on famously with San Benedeto. When Schofield has ridden San Benedeto has produced career from figures of 215231154. So, more often than not he produces the goods when Schofield gets the leg up. San Benedeto can currently be backed at odds of 16/1, and at that price he has to be worth chancing each way.
NEWBURY SATURDAY TIPS: SAN BENEDETO E/W @ 16/1 NAP
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