After a handful of winners yesterday, Search For A Tipster winner Karl Hedley (@KarlHedley1) lays out his best bets for Saturday's ITV races.
SOUL EMOTION (1:50 Newbury)
Soul Emotion has to give weight away all around in this race, but he is clearly a six year old with plenty of ability. He was capable of winning at Sandown on what was his British debut and followed that up in a higher grade next time when plundering the Bet365 Hurdle over the same course and distance.
He was considered good enough to contest the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last December but the step up to three miles came too soon and he faded into fifth behind Paisley Park in the closing stages. This return to two and a half miles and a return back into handicap company will see him in a much better light.
A massive danger at the foot of the handicap is Pride Of Lecale. He made a winning seasonal reappearance at Market Rasen a few weeks ago thumping Oxwich Bay by eight lengths. Conor Brace claims a further three pounds off his back and Fergal O’Brien is training winners for fun of late. If the rains were to descend and the going changed to heavy, he would be feared even more.
Snow Leopardess has not seen any racecourse since winning a valuable prize at Auteuil in September 2017. She is a previous course and distance winner and will act on the forecast going. The length of absence is a massive concern, but it wouldn’t be the biggest of shocks if she went well for Charlie Longsdon.
BUVEUR D'AIR (2:05 Newcastle)
Buveur D'air has all of the credentials necessary to secure a third straight win in the Fighting Fifth as he bids to emulate the feat achieved by Comedy Of Errors in the early to mid nineteen seventies. Nicky Henderson’s star hurdler showed no ill effects of his fall at Cheltenham as he ran with great credit subsequently at Aintree next time out before going on to win the Irish Champion Hurdle at Punchestown.
He is effectively almost a stone better than his closest rival here today but racing would not be the sport we all love without the potential for an upset. The one who could take likeliest advantage at a massive price is Cornerstone Lad. He loves this heavy ground and with a previous course and distance win to his name, he could well follow the very short priced favourite home for his shrewd stable. He is also still only a five year old, so chances are that we are yet to see the best of him. His double figure odds at present look insulting and he could easily outrun them.
CHRISTOPHER WOOD (2:25 Newbury)
Christopher Wood put up a fair enough performance on his seasonal debut at Wincanton just three weeks ago. It is worth noting that the race was the Elite Hurdle and the finish was fought out by Fusil Raffles and Grand Sancy. He will appreciate this return to handicap company and he remains unbeaten on genuine soft ground winning both races he has run on it before.
Harry Cobden has won on him before in a juvenile hurdle race over this same course and distance. Stamina ought not to be an issue as he has won over further and with his last run likely to have cleared away any cobwebs, he is likely to make his presence felt here.
Nicky Henderson comes here triple handed with the likes of French Crusader, Epatante and Elusive Belle. The latter is partnered by Sam Waley-Cohen as his father owns it, but it is interesting that Nico De Boinville opts to ride French Crusader. The latter is at least a winner of a handicap hurdle at a lower level, whilst the other two tackle handicaps for the first time today. It may prove that De Boinville has the right horse that is proven in races similar to this. Epatante and Elusive Belle wont find winning this race easy on what effectively is their handicap debut.
One that could go well at a decent price is Crooks Peak. Like the selection he is a previous course and distance winner who has put together some solid efforts in similar handicaps. Richard Johnson and Phillip Hobbs have been amongst the winners of late, so with the ground in his favour, he too may put in a bold show.
BEWARE THE BEAR (3:00 Newbury)
Beware The Bear is a proven stayer and showed that at Cheltenham at the turn of the year. In the first of back to back wins he saw off a challenge from Shanroe Santos before putting in a career best performance to win the Ultima Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. His run in the Sandown Gold Cup is best forgotten as he was eased down by Jeremiah McGrath when it was obvious that their chance had gone.
Beware The Bear was a good fourth in this race last year and that previous experience may well stand him in good stead here. His stable has fancier entries in Ok Corral, On The Blind Side and Brave Eagle, but the selection is no forlorn hope and will be staying on when others have cried enough.
Cabaret Queen and Borice are the main Irish raiders and are in excellent form. They may well struggle to dominate in a handicap as competitive as this though. This is a completely different level of opposition to what they have faced back home and whilst respected they may have to settle for minor places this time.
Colin Tizzard may well hold the key to this race as he has three live chances courtesy of West Approach, Elegant Escape and Robinsfirth. Robbie Power gave the former a peach of a ride at Cheltenham last time and he may come out on top again here.
LAKE VIEW LAD (3:20 Newcastle)
Lake View Lad hasn’t been seen since pulling up in the Grand National at Aintree back in April. However he is a frequent visitor to this track so it is of no surprise to see him make his seasonal reappearance at a meeting where he has won for the last two seasons. He is bidding to retain his crown having taken this same race last year. Provided there is a bit of soft in the going, he should be capable of making another bold attempt in the familiar Trevor Hemmings colours.
Lake View Lad already has the beating of a couple of these rivals including Captain Chaos and Takingrisks. There is no obvious reason as to why they should reverse the form. A bigger threat will come from old rival Captain Redbeard, who has defeated the selection in their last three meetings. He was however a tad disappointing when only fourth in a veteran’s handicap chase at Aintree on his seasonal reappearance. If ever there was a time and a track for the selection to reverse that trend it will come here at his favourite track.
Jonniesofa is extremely lightly raced and defied a near two year absence to scoot home at Ayr when beating Blakerigg by sixteen lengths. Connections will be hoping he avoids the dreaded ‘bounce' by putting in another solid display.
Karl Hedley's Best Bets
1:50 Newbury - Soul Emotion each way (11/1 Bet365)
2:05 Newcastle - Buveur D'Air (1/3 Bet365)
2:25 Newbury - Christopher Wood (11/1 Bet Victor)
3:00 Newbury - Beware The Bear each way (50/1 Bet365)
3:20 Newcastle - Lake View Lad (11/2 William Hill)