Newbury takes centre stage this weekend and it’s the Challow Novices’ Hurdle that is the feature event on Saturday.
There’s a fantastic card in Berkshire and it’s a highly intriguing renewal of the Challow.
Nicky Henderson won this contest back in 2014 with Captain Cutter and his runner looks like a fascinating contender.
Champ could hardly have been more impressive when hacking up over course and distance last time out in the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle which is always a competitive renewal and it’s worth recognising that the gelding wasted a lot of energy early in that contest when refusing to settle.
It appears to be a race his owner JP McManus has targeted down the years, winning it with the likes of the aforementioned Captain Cutter and the highly talented Wichita Lineman.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see this exciting recruit pitched in at the deep end early and he’s expected to be hard to beat.
Fergal O’Brien and Paddy Brennan teamed up to win this race last year with Poetic Rhythm and the exciting Coolanly could be the main danger to Champ.
The six-year-old returned to form with a Grade 2 success at Cheltenham last time and that looks like a decent level of form.
Already proven in similar conditions, he’s not one to dismiss, available at 7/1.
The Novice event at Southwell looks like an interesting little contest and it might be worth taking a chance on the filly Chillon Castle being able to reverse the Wolverhampton form with current favourite Rock Bottom.
The daughter of Swiss Spirit arrives 1lb better off at the weights and her trainer’s runners often come on plenty for their first outing.
She was just over four lengths behind last time, but she was keen early that day. It means she will have learnt plenty from the experience and rates as the value bet in what looks an ultimately winnable contest.
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