It might be a day to take note at Newbury rather than get heavily involved with the bookmakers but I have found a couple of horses who might just be worth a bit of money each way for a bit of interest.
First up is my old friend CLEONTE who will remain in my hall of fame no matter what he does today. I was heavily involved with him when he won the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Ascot in 2019 and he duly did the business that day, highlighting his preference for a severe stamina test and good ground. The latter is absolutely key to him and after a ‘quiet’ winter he’s starting to look very well handicapped on his old form. He must be worth a punt at 8/1.
I wouldn’t normally advise backing a 3 year old first time out as they change so much from two. Some train on, some don’t but given his sire improved with age, I’d be more than hopeful that SAINT LAWRENCE can do the same. I was surprised that Roger Varian kept him so busy at two as I don’t think he was ever going to be a two year old but hopefully the experience will stand to him this year. He returns in a handicap today with Ray Dawson taking a valuable 5lb off and although it is a competitive race I do like this lad’s claims at around 8/1.
Newbury 2.15 – Cleonte
Newbury 2.50 – Saint Lawrence
It isn’t going to be the strongest Scottish Champion Hurdle ever run and it may even cut up after this piece goes to press. I like the claims of CALICO who was freely available at 14/1 earlier in the week until ante post punters realised that was completely the wrong price. Dan Skelton’s young novice has looked a nice type in all starts to date so far winning at Ludlow and Warwick as well as a good second in a graded event at Kempton. He seems to be a really strong traveller so should appreciate a competitive handicap like this and I imagine shrewd connections believe he is on a good mark or else they would have kept him in novice company.
Ayr 2.25 – Calico