The Winter Carnival at Newbury kicks off on Friday, two days of top quality National Hunt racing. Here’s my Preview for Day 1. Enjoy!
Friday 30th November 2018
1.50 – (Class 1) (Grade 2) (2m 3f) (Ladbrokes Novice Chase)
The first Graded race of the Newbury Winter Carnival comes in the form of the 1.50 which is a Grade 2 affair that’s ridden over a distance of two miles and three furlongs. It see’s a rematch between the Warren Greatrex trained La Bague Au Roi and Colin Tizzard’s Lostintranslation who both made their chasing debuts here earlier this month and it was the Greatrex charge that came out on top that day pulling clear by just over a length in the end. Richard Johnson once again takes the ride on her with Robbie Power on board Lostintranslation. There’s not much separating them in the betting as both horses can be found trading at around the 6/4 mark.
Spiritofthegames made the perfect start to his chasing career with a win in Listed company at Chepstow. The race fell apart that day but it was still a smart performance and there’s likely more to come from Dan Skelton’s charge however there’ll need to be should he trouble the market principles here. Talkischeap concludes the field for Alan King who made a decent start over fences here last time but he was a good few lengths behind the market leaders on that occasion so he’s got work to do should he get closer this time around.
“This looks to be between the top two in the betting again and with the weights and judging the performance last time its likely going to be tough to beat La Bague Au Roi. I do think there’ll be more to come Lostintranslation this term though and he’ll come on quite a bit from that run last time so he may well get a bit closer to the Greatrex favourite this time.”
Last Year’s Winner:
2017: Willoughby Court – (15/8)
(Age: 6) (Weight: 11-1) (Trainer: Ben Pauling – Jockey: N de Boinville)
2.25 – (Class 2) (2m 3f) (Ladbrokes Handicap Chase)
The 2.25 at Newbury is a Handicap Chase that’s contested over a distance of two miles and three furlongs and it see’s the returning Willoughby Court head affairs for Ben Pauling. He hasn’t been seen since a below par effort at Cheltenham on New Years Day but he did win the Berkshire Novices race on this card last year as well as being a Grade 1 winner over hurdles. If on song it’s likely he’ll once again play a big part here with Nico de Boinville back in the saddle. The ultra consistent King’s Odyssey takes his place as the second favourite in the betting for Evan Williams. He still looks fairly lightly raced for his age and was last seen posting another solid effort when second at Aintree on his reappearance. He’ll likely run his race one again here with Adam Wedge on board.
Touch Kick represents Paul Nicholls here and he certainly looks like one of the more unexposed types in the field, he made the perfect start to the season on his reappearance run the last day at Hereford following a lay off and could well come on again here. Harry Cobden is in the saddle. Beggars Wishes is no stranger to the winners enclosure and comes here on the back of a hatrick of wins for the Bowen’s. The handicapper has been harsh though on the back of that and he will need to step up again here should he defy his current mark. The Venetia trained Aso ran a mighty race in the Ryanair at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017 and comes here on the back of a lay off. His form before that lay off was slightly hit and miss though and he’ll welcome any rain. Charlie Deutsch is on board. Three Musketeers will need to step up on what he’s shown recently for Dan Skelton as will Ballybolley for Nigel Twiston-Davies however he is now back down to a winning mark.
“A tough old race to get your head around this with question marks hanging over a lot of them, if Willoughby Court returns back to top form he’ll be obviously tough to beat and has a great chance, King’s Odyssey always runs his race and will likely be there or thereabouts again but Touch Kick might have a bit more to offer for Paul Nicholls, he’s still very much unexposed and could well be anything.”
Last Year’s Winner:
2017: Old Grangewood – (6/1)
(Age: 6) (Weight: 11-5) (Trainer: Dan Skelton – Jockey: Harry Skelton)
3.00 – (Class 1) (Grade 2) (3m 52y) (Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle)
The Long Distance Hurdle concludes my Preview for Day 1 of the Winter Carnival at Newbury and this is a Grade 2 affair contested over three miles and was the scene of Beer Goggles shock 40/1 win last year for the late Richard Woollacott. It’s Wholestone that heads affairs this time around for Nigel Twiston-Davies on the back of his impressive victory at Aintree on his reappearance. Daryl Jacob will be back in the saddle on this reliable sort. Unowhatimeanharry was back in third behind Wholestone that day and looks to be in the latter stages of his career but clearly still ability in the locker so you’d be foolish to completely write him off. One of the horses of last season was Sam Spinner and he makes his reappearance here, he was slightly underwhelming at the Spring Festivals at the back end of last term but if bouncing back to his form before Cheltenham and Aintree he’ll likely play a significant role.
One of the most interesting contenders here looks to be Momella, now with Harry Fry she ran some solid races in defeat last term and this strong traveler could certainly have her say against the boys. Clyne is a personal favourite of mine and is an ever consistent horse and often has his say at the business end of things, he’ll need to step up should he do that again though within this company but he could outrun his odds for Evan Williams.
“A very competitive renewal of this of which will be one of the most interesting races of the next few days, I think Wholestone was impressive last time at Aintree and can go well again here, he’ll need to step up again though should he get the better of the likes of Sam Spinner and Momella.”
Last Year’s Winner:
2017: Beer Goggles – (40/1)
(Age: 6) (Weight: 11-0) (Trainer: Richard Woollacott – Jockey: Richard Johnson)