Weekend racing tips and analysis - Altior and Champ the stars on show at Newbury

With the Cheltenham Festival just five weeks away, Newbury Racecourse stages a fabulous seven-race card on Saturday which looks set to feature Altior and Champ.

Thursday, 11th February 2021, 6:07 pm
Trainer Nicky Henderson poses for a photo with Altior. Photo: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

An inspection is set to be held on Friday due to the threat of frost, but punters will be in for a treat if the meeting gets the go-ahead. We have previewed all of the action with stats and analysis.

The feature race of the day is the £125,000 Grade Three Betfair Hurdle (3.35pm). The contest has been won by the likes of My Tent Or Yours and Zarkander in recent years and this year’s renewal looks well up to scratch – you can watch the contest live on ITV4.

High on the shortlist is Metier for Harry Fry. He has looked a horse of immense promise, winning all three of his starts this term. Formerly trained on the Flat in Ireland by Andy Slattery, the five-year-old followed up victories at Newton Abbot and Ascot with a facile 12-length success in the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle on his latest start. He quickened clear in the manner of a very exciting prospect on that occasion and crucially is already proven on heavy. ground. He has to shoulder plenty of weight, but looks capable of going close.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Buzz is another interesting contender having won easily at Ascot on his penultimate start, before finishing a fine second in a competitive handicap back at the track in December.

Others for the shortlist include Edwardstone who looked back to somewhere near his best when scoring at Market Rasen over timber last time out. That win came on heavy ground, proving that he can handle testing conditions and given how highly he is regarded, he looks an interesting each-way player.

Owner Harry Redknapp thinks Shakem Up’Arry has the attitude of Tottenham and England skipper Harry Kane – he will be hoping he has his ability too in Saturday’s race. Ben Pauling has made no secret of his admiration for this horse and he made recorded a first win on his seasonal debut at Ffos Las in November. Fourth in a competitive handicap at Haydock in November, he filled the runner-up spot behind Metier in the Tolworth Hurdle last time out and is another live player.

Also worth mentioning are Mack The Man who was brought-down at the final flight in this race last year and Fifty Ball who is steadily progressing through the ranks for Gary Moore, a trainer who has won this event in recent years with Heathcote (2007), Wingman (2008) and Violet Dancer (2015).

Cadzand comes into this race off the back of two easy victories, which culminated with a smart success at Kempton last time out. Other last time out winners in the field include For Pleasure. Sky Pirate, Annual Invictus and Guard Your Dreams.

Superstar Altior is chasing a fourth straight win in the Grade Two Game Spirit Chase (3.00pm). Second on his comeback in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton, he sets a clear standard in this event and should be hard to beat. Greaneteen, second in the Tingle Creek last time out, could give him most to think about. The five runner field is complete by Fanion D’Estruval, Magic Saint and Sceau Royal.

The other feature event is a magnificent renewal of the Grade Two Denman Chase (2.25pm). RSA Chase hero Champ is set to make his eagerly awaited return to action after 339 days off the track He is a course and distance winner at the track and looks a leading player along with Clan Des Obeaux who was third when attempting to defend his King George VI Chase crown on his latest start.

Gold Cup third Lostintranslation has disappointed in two starts this term, including when pulled-up in the King George. However, his trainer Colin Tizzard has his horses firing on all cylinders again and he is another to note in this nine-runner event.

Cheltenham Festival winner The Conditional was second in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury last time out and is another to note along with Peterborough Chase second Kalashnikov. The field is completed by Ballyoptic, Cepage, Definitly Red and Secret Investor.

BettingExpert’s resident tipster Stephen Harris’ NAP of the weekend runs in the 1.50pm. Everglow, trained by Philip Hobbs, was a smart winner at Ascot in December, before disappointing in Listed company at Kempton last time out. However, he should be suited by this step up in trip.

Newbury Saturday selections

1.15pm – Gowel Road

1.50pm – Everglow (NAP)

2.25pm – Champ

3.00pm – Altior

3.35pm – Edwardstone

4.10pm – St Barts

4.45pm – Petrossian

Tips and analysis via Betting Expert