• Mon 23 Oct, 2017
  • 10:39 BST
  • 06:39 EST (BST-4)
  • 12:39 CEST (BST+2)

Five to follow on Saturday

Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Newbury on Saturday. View selections below.

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CLYNE (3.35) looks nailed on to be in the thick of the action on his favoured soft ground in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

As always, there is a bunch of potentially well treated young horses taking on their more battle-hardened elders, and the likes of Ballyandy, Movewiththetimes and William H Bonney will attract plenty of support.

However, Clyne looks a rock-solid alternative and is very much on an upwards curve. All three runs this season have come in the Haydock mud, handing out beatings to Le Rocher and Verni respectively, and both runners-up have come out and won since to give the form an even better appearance.

Clyne reserved his best performance for the stanjames.com Champion Hurdle Trial, pushing on from halfway and only being collared in the final 50 yards by The New One. He is officially 5lb well in here, as the Betfair weights were published before that sterling effort.

Ballyandy, last year’s Cheltenham bumper winner, has twice had a rear view of Moon Racer, another previous Cheltenham bumper scorer, over hurdles this season and was beaten by Alan King’s Messive Des Obeaux in a 2m 4f Grade 2 event at Sandown.

Twiston-Davies deliberately kept him sidelined since that run in early December to protect his rating and Ballyandy is likely to be involved (watch your bets as Twister also saddles Ballyhill). On the down side for Ballyandy, the third horse at Sandown, Nicky Henderson’s Cultivator, flopped next time out.

William H Bonney, aka Billy The Kid, should go well for the sharp-shooting King yard on the back of a smart Cheltenham success, coming from a long way back to catch Man Of Plenty up the hill.

Movewiththetimes represents the powerful Paul Nicholls/JP McManus combo having finished fifth to Moon Racer at Cheltenham in November. He has since landed the odds at Wincanton and is open to more improvement off a potentially lenient mark.

Nicholls also saddles Zubayr and he could have a say in the outcome if putting behind him a modest effort when fifth to Brain Power at Ascot. He was just giving best to very useful Sceau Royal when falling at the final flight at Wincanton in November.

Penalised HIGH BRIDGE (1.15) defends his unbeaten record over hurdles in the opening novices’ event and promising rider Alex Ferguson’s 7lb allowance will help the gelding overcome a big weight.

Sixth to Ballyandy in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham on his a final start for John Ferguson, High Bridge was on  the mark for new handler Ben Pauling when handing out a beating to Chelsea Flyer, a winner at Doncaster on Thursday.

High Bridge followed up with little fuss at Catterick early last month, pulling readily clear of Alan King’s Top Tug. There are a couple of opponents in here which may help make the market for High Bridge’s backers, namely Multiculture, an easy hurdles winner at Uttoxeter for Philip Hobbs and JP McManus’ Dead Right, runner-up in a Uttoxeter bumper for Neil Mulholland.

There is a fascinating and potentially illuminating match-up in the Betfair Denman Chase with Native River and Bristol De Mai putting their Cheltenham Gold Cup claims on the line. I’d rather be an interested spectator than punter.

A similar remark applies to Altior in receipt of 5lb from Fox Norton, with the Nicky Henderson-trained chaser many people’s idea of a festival banker in next month’s Arkle Trophy.

The three-mile handicap hurdle offers slightly better odds, with winning-machine TOBEFAIR (1.50) again locking horns with Scotchtown after the duo fought out a stamina-sapping finish to Warwick’s Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle over 3m 2f.

Tobefair has won his last six starts and although the handicapper has raised him 8lb for that latest success, he may edge out the front-running Scotchtown down the long Newbury straight.

It is easy enough to pick holes in the opposition, with top weights La Fontana and Morello Royale beaten out of sight last time, while Red Hanrahan returns from a 294-day absence since pulling up at Sandown.

Bryden Boy landed a gamble against some exposed sorts at Ayr and a 10lb rise seems very harsh. At least we know he is in form.

Rolling Maul was 15 lengths behind Cogry at Cheltenham and the form of that event isn’t working out too well. He still makes more appeal than Cadeau George, beaten 87 lengths in the Hereford mud.

The novices’ handicap chase has a wide-open look to it and Jonjo O’Neill’s MUSTMEETALADY (4.10) could upset his more fancied rivals.

The seven-year-old comfortably landed a 3m 1f handicap hurdle at Warwick on soft ground last April and has taken well enough to fences without setting the heather on fire.

On his last appearance, Mustmeetalady finished third to Hainan at Wetherby. The form of the race didn’t look out of the ordinary until fourth horse Baywing (10 lengths behind Mustmeetalady) fairly bolted up by 22 lengths in a Grade 2 chase last Saturday.

The Hobbs-trained Vieux Lille is the likely market leader on the back of his second to Yala Enki in the Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock before Christmas. The winner has since been whipped nearly 30 lengths behind useful Definitly Red at Wetherby, but Vieux Lille is probably the one to beat.

Vinnie Red is up 7lb for beating Master Jake at Market Rasen on Boxing Day and should also play a part in proceedings.

Henderson hope Lesson In  Milan looked one-paced when fifth to Belami Des Pictons over course and distance but the stable is always to be feared here. Not for me.

Paul Townend is an interesting booking by Kerry Lee for Kris Spin but he must step on his Hereford effort behind Charmix, beaten 30 lengths.

Boa Island goes for the Nicholls yard but his sixth to Kerrow at Taunton is no great shakes.

Newbury bumpers are always worth close scrutiny (Ballyandy and Barters Hill won last two renewals) and multiple winners go to post this afternoon. However, it may be worth taking a punt on Irish raider COSMO’S MOON (4.45).

He was well backed to make a winning debut at Naas last month but was held up and could never strike a blow (fifth) behind Noel Meade’s Red Jack. Willie Mullins saddled runner-up Debuchet, a winner next time at Leopardstown, while sixth horse I See You Will also scored on his next outing.

Daphne Du Clos will be popular for the Henderson yard and his four-year-old filly was only just touched off by Cap Soleil at Cheltenham, with Dynamite Dollars a close up third.

Stronger form may be represented by top weight Western Ryder and his narrow Market Rasen conqueror Infinite Sun. The former went on to land a Listed bumper at Ascot and looks sure to figure for Warren Greatrex.

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