Member selections – Saturday 7th February


Hello again,

We are not exactly spoilt for choice with races that have a desirable betting shape this weekend. However there are some interesting Festival trials being run at Newbury which should prove informative... but they don’t appeal as betting heats.

We do have a couple of handicaps to attack at the Newbury meeting, the Betfair Hurdle presents an opportunity to play at attractive prices, and the 3 mile handicap hurdle presents us with a good opportunity to play each-way.  Then on Sunday there’s a decent betting opportunity in the Hennessy Gold Cup over at Leopardstown.

Whilst I don’t want to get involved with Saturday’s Denman Chase at Newbury, I do nevertheless have a suggestion to make about getting something useful out of the contest with minimal risk.

Read on….


(1.50) Sandown, Betfair Home of the Price Rush Handicap Hurdle (Class 2)


Tempest River 1pt each-way (14/1 generally)

Race Analysis:

Tempest River hasn’t won over hurdles for some time, but has been chasing in the meanwhile. But back over the smaller obstacles this term she’s performed well enough without winning and improved on the clock last time out for the step up in trip to 3 miles.

The trip could be the key to getting more out of her and she gets the right ground again at Newbury tomorrow.

The in-form Daryl Jacob is an interesting addition to the mix. He hasn’t ridden the horse since March but in 10 previous rides on the mare he’s got her into the front 3 on 8 occasions.

Milan Bound is the rightful favourite but the 14/1 about Ben Case’s mare is a generous enough each-way price about a horse that has been running faster in recent times than many of tomorrow’s rivals and doesn’t have the fitness doubts that dog some of them.


(2.25) Newbury, Denman Chase (Grade 2)


small e/w bet on Coneygree to win the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup @ 33/1 (NRNB)

Race Analysis:

This is an unattractive race from a betting perspective but Coneygree does have an opportunity to throw down a marker for a tilt at the Gold Cup.

Mark Bradstock’s novice is up against more experienced rivals at a higher level than he’s raced at to date over fences. But his general profile and the way he ran the race out of Virak with his sheer pace at Kempton over Christmas suggest this horse is going to develop into a top-class chaser, if not this term then next.

His major opponents that day exited the race early and a cynic wouldn’t find it too difficult to tear a hole in the form. But Coneygree’s figures are handy enough, his jumping is sound and on tomorrow’s ground he can go on again. He’s open to more progression than any runner in the field. If he does then he can win because he’s not facing the cream of the staying division by anybody’s measure.

I wouldn’t want to be backing him at tomorrow’s prices but I wouldn’t put you off having a few quid on him for the Gold Cup at prices as big as 33/1 with bookmakers going Non-Runner-No-Bet.

I can’t see him going for the Gold Cup if he doesn’t win tomorrow. If he’s beaten then connections will save him for another year. So, if he does win, you’ll be sitting on a nice price about him for the big one – because he certainly won’t be 33/1. But if he doesn’t then you’ll be getting your stake back. It’s a no-lose opportunity in my book.


(3.35) Newbury, Betfair Hurdle (Grade 3 Handicap)


Balgarry 1pt each-way (16/1 generally)

Race Analysis:

These big-field handicaps are never easy to solve and invariably contain multiple runners with similarly strong claims. For me a race like this has to be played on a price basis and the one that looks interesting tomorrow afternoon is David Pipe’s Balgarry at 16/1.

In his two races to date this season, after a long injury layoff, it is fair to say he has been working his way back towards his pre-injury potential and he looks set to improve on that tomorrow afternoon.

He was 8/1 on his first run back from injury in the Ladbroke at Ascot so to get him here at double that price – especially after a second run where he clearly enjoyed the benefit of the first – is good each-way business in my book.

Balgarry has already won at the track (that experience will be an advantage) and his jockey, Tom Scudamore, is a particularly proficient rider at Newbury, beating a bigger percentage of his rivals over fences than any rider he opposes tomorrow. The ground will suit too.


(3.50 Sunday) Leopardstown, Hennessy Gold Cup (Grade 1)


Carlingford Lough 1pt win (4/1 generally)

Race Analysis:

At 9-years-old and with 16 chases behind him you could make the case that Carlingford Lough isn’t an improving type. But his effort in the Lexus Chase over Christmas suggests otherwise.

He ran a personal best Racing Post rating that day when finishing 5th, despite that being his first appearance on a race track since April when winning the Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown.

He surely need that run at Leopardstown and he should not only come on for it but improve again. He showed up well deep into the race, did by far the best of the hold-up horses, and it was only in the latter stages that he faded out of it, unable to find extra and obviously lacking full fitness. That run should put him spot on for Sunday’s assignment and he heads to Leopardstown with a big chance.

I’m not sure how much if any value there is in his general quote of 4/1 but he’s up against a weak favourite in Boston Bob, whose Grade 1 wins last term came against opposition not quite up to that standard, and an 11-year-old second-favourite in the shape of On His Own, who is unlikely to find any additional progression at this stage of his career and who won’t be getting his favoured heavy ground.