THE way I read this race is that BOOK OF GOLD has a great chance.
He’s run with promise in novice hurdles run by smart sorts Tikkanbar and Mr Whipped. His close second to Tommy Rapper at Doncaster last month flatters him a little but he’s sure to improve for the step up to three miles. It’s not hard to imagine he’s well weighted.
Much of the interest will centre around Barters Hill. If he’s anywhere his best he will have a great chance but that’s not a leap of faith I’m willing to take on his return from injury.
Lough Derg Farmer flopped on his chase debut after jumping out to his left at Ascot. He won twice from three hurdles starts and he must be a threat today.
The Eaglehaslanded and Talkischeap prefer better ground.
THE Betfair Denman Chase is low quantity but NATIVE RIVER ensures there’s some quality.
I fancied him for the Gold Cup last year after his wins in the Hennessy Gold Cup, Welsh National and this race. He ran a cracker to finish third when trainer Colin Tizzard’s team weren’t firing on all cylinders.
Tizzard has opted for a different approach this year as he makes his return to action today. He’ll sharpen up for the run I’m sure but still should have too much class for main rival Cloudy Dream.
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He’s incredibly consistent and his Aintree second to Definitly Red looks good form after the winner followed up in Cheltenham’s Cotswold Chase.
Whether he really wants this far is open to question and I think he’ll have to settle for second again today.
Saphir Du Rheu has his first run since falling in the Grand National. He’s become disappointing in the last couple of years when his only victory was at 1-7.
IT might seem daft to take on a horse unbeaten over jumps but I can’t get excited about backing Altior at odds-on.
At his brilliant best he was the winner of the best Supreme Novices’ Hurdle run for years before switching to fences to win this race and the Arkle among others. But he’s been off the track with a wind problem and is sure to improve for the run.
His other problem is POLITOLOGUE. I’ve been massively impressed with him this season and his Tingle Creek defeat of Fox Norton was a decent effort. He could easily make his fitness tell.
Valdez was useful in his pomp but not up to this level. It’s hard to see him picking up anything but third place on his first start for more than three years.
KALASHNIKOV has the Betfair Hurdle in his sights.
Novices have a great record in this race and he has looked a good youngster since switching to hurdles this season.
He bolted up at Wetherby and Doncaster before finishing second in the Grade 1 Tolworth at Sandown. That’s the same race Agrapart ran in before landing this prize two years ago.
Nick Henderson fires five arrows as he attempts to win this contest for the sixth time. Jenkins has been transformed by blinkers and looks to have a fine chance despite shouldering top weight.
Stablemate Kayf Grace – another decent novice – should also go well. She tends to pull hard so the big field will help.
Lalor, Knocknanuss, Misterton and classy Moon Racer are others in with a shout in a hugely-competitive race.
Templegate’s TV Tips
Newbury 1.50 – Book Of Gold: ‘He’s run with promise in some decent novice hurdles and it’s not hard to imagine he’s well weighted’ (add to your betslip)
Warwick 2.05 – Lamanver Odyssey: ‘Put in a personal best on her return at Wincanton and I’m confident Harry Fry will have her back to her best’ (add to your betslip)
Newbury 2.25 – Native River: ‘He’ll sharpen up for the run but I’m sure he should have too much class for his two rivals’ (add to your betslip)
Warwick 2.40 – North Hill Harvey: ‘Has taken well to fences and his slick jumping should keep him on top’ (add to your betslip)
Newbury 3.00 – Politologue: ‘Tingle Creek win over Fox Norton was decent and he can make his fitness tell against Altior’ (add to your betslip)
Warwick 3.15 – Kylemore Lough: ‘Put in some good efforts last season without winning and has excuses for his two lacklustre runs for Harry Fry’ (add to your betslip)
Newbury 3.35 – Kalashnikov: ‘Novices have a great record in this and this good youngster ran well in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle last time’ (add to your betslip)
THERE’S an Od bet in this mares’ hurdle.
LAMANVER ODYSSEY had some promising form last year and she put in a personal best when successful on her return at Wincanton. That form has worked out well and I’m not going to hold her Cheltenham tumble against her. I’m confident Harry Fry will have her back to her best.
Midnight Tour has the form to take this. Her third to La Bague Au Roi in November was a fine effort but she would prefer better ground.
Midnight Jazz bounced back to form when runner-up to Poppy Kay on heavy ground at Sandown last month. That might flatter her a little and I’m not convinced she will repeat that run.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Woolstone One run well. She needs to step up on her Doncaster handicap victory but she is unexposed.
HEAD North for the Betway Kingmaker winner.
NORTH HILL HARVEY has taken well to fences. He beat Arkle fancy Sceau Royal on his chase debut and he had no trouble following up.
Sceau Royal got his revenge in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown but that was no disgrace. I expect North Hill Harvey’s slick jumping to help him come out on top.
Saint Calvados is the obvious danger. Harry Whittington’s French import has looked good in twice winning well at Newbury. This is a step up in grade but the weight he gets makes him dangerous.
Drumcliff has a fair bit to find but Diego Du Charmil wouldn’t be out of it on his best form. Whether he comes up with that on ground softer than ideal is open to question.
KYLEMORE LOUGH should be king of the Warwick Castle.
He was a Grade 1 winner when trained by Kerry Lee and ran some good races without winning last term. His two efforts for Harry Fry have not been great but there were excuses.
He made a bad mistake at the water jump when sent off favourite for Cheltenham’s BetVictor Gold Cup and two miles was always going to be too sharp for him against Un De Sceaux in the Clarence House at Ascot. This looks an ideal race for him to get back on track.
There should be a decent pace with last year’s winner Templehills attempting to defend his crown. He made a satisfactory return when runner-up behind Pressurize at Chepstow and is probably the biggest threat.
Cogry needs further and Value At Risk has never really convinced me over fences.
1.10 Natalie Express
1.45 Wide Acclaim
2.20 Sir Hector
2.55 Leader Writer
4.35 Very Honest
1.15 Whatswrongwithyou (treble)
1.50 Book Of Gold (nap)
2.25 Native River
4.10 Duke Des Champs
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1.20 Get Wishing
2.30 Mr Love
3.05 Angel Of Harlem
3.40 Ocean Cove
4.45 Beau Bay
2.05 Lamanver Odyssey
2.40 North Hill Harvey
3.15 Kylemore Lough (nb)
3.50 Laval Noir
6.15 Right Action
7.15 Pilgrim Soul
8.15 Reckless Wave