STAR PREVIEW Sun: Newbury Racing

Betfair Super Sunday 2021
Newbury Racecourse
Live on ITV 4 HD and ITV Hub from 1.30pm and Racing TV from 1pm


Racing is full of great stories and yesterday we had them both at home and abroad, with Dashel Drasher giving Jeremy Scott a second Grade 1 winner and Matt Griffiths a first graded winner of any kind after an incredibly game success in the Ascot Chase, Goshen coming right back to his best with a dominant performance in the Kingwell Hurdle, and Mishriff running down Charlatan to take the Saudi Cup under an inspired David Egan.

All three races served a great reminder of the thrilling highs of this sport over fences, hurdles and on the level – the case of Dashel Drasher the Scott yard will be drinking in their big success, and all power to them, whilst the future is tremendously exciting again for Goshen, with a Champion Hurdle showdown with Silver Streak, Honeysuckle and Epatante in the offing if all make it there fit and well, whilst Mishriff has any number of options open to him on dirt or turf over the next 12 months. Fingers crossed we are as lucky to see the same thing again today.

The cold snap that put turf racing in Britain on hold threatened to scupper Newbury’s brilliant card, but thanks to the flexible thinking of the BHA and ITV, we can all enjoy the same great names today, however we watch our racing. With thanks to all involved, we can start with the Betfair Hurdle (3.35), which is typically competitive but has a couple of horses that stand out at the final stage.

Mister Coffey was a disappointment to many when third in a Listed handicap hurdle at Sandown in December, but in hindsight conditions and the way the race developed may not have suited him and it’s highly possible he’s better than that effort. An impressive winner on his seasonal return at the Esher venue, he passed the whole field and won easily when clearly well ahead of his mark.

Those same tactics were attempted again in December, but on a far more testing surface – having pulled hard, has he did on his debut – his run flattened out after the last as he was beaten by nine lengths. The bare form would leave him with ground to make up, but a better surface today ought to play right to his strengths and Nico de Boinville will never have a better chance to get him properly settled and into the race. If both those things fall right for him, then it’s very likely he’ll be able to show more than he did at Sandown (where the winner Benson went onto be fourth in the Ladbroke at Ascot) and it’s possible to imagine that Mister Coffey is at least capable of showing that he’s worth his rating of 138 and perhaps more.

A chance is taken on the ground with Milkwood, who was so cruelly unlucky not to take an intermediate hurdle here in Ladbroke Trophy day. Milkwood was going best, having travelled smartly into the race off a slow gallop before being hampered going into the second last and then carried wide and nearly stopped by the then departing Thyme White before flying home to take third.

That run could have been expected given his previous form. Milkwood was an impressive winner of an intermediate hurdle at Ffos Las before bettering that with a fourth in the Welsh Champion Hurdle, when he was only five and a half lengths behind Sceau Royale. That form looks rock solid, with runner up Ballyandy second in the Greatwood Hurdle and third Buzz running out an impressive winner at Ascot before then finishing second in the Ladbroke at Christmas, and off 141 Milkwood has an outstanding chance on paper if the ground is right for him.

Others on the shortlist who didn’t quite make it were Mack The Man (returned to hurdles with a win at Wincanton, and still in with a fighting chance when brought down in this last year), On To Victory (made huge progress on flat over last year and won at Wincanton), and Soaring Glory (bumped into two high class prospects over hurdles this season).

The Betfair Game Spirit (3.00) promises to be one of the most fascinating races of the season, with RSA winner and Gold Cup contender Champ dropping down a mile in trip and making his seasonal reappearance after that incredible staying performance at Cheltenham. The move is a fascinating one on many levels – Champ has been a buzzy horse in his races who may be well suited by chasing a quicker pace, although his staying power very much overcame his jumping in the RSA and it remains to be seen how that holds up against high class two milers – and it’ll be a race not to miss, for all that he doesn’t make any appeal to get the better of his rivals here.

Greaneteen, Sceau Royal, and Fanion D’Estruval all ought to prove too quick, with Sceau Royal making the most appeal at the prices for all that he fell in the Desert Orchid – it would be unwise to totally rule out Dolos and Magic Saint either.

In the Denman Chase (2.25) Clan Des Obeaux and Lostintranslation are the headline prospects, with Lostintranslation the pick at the prices if a wind op has taken the desired effect following his King George disappointment. Clan Des Obeaux, a very creditable third at Kempton, is understandably short there and the pair look the most likely winner although Cepage, who was a wide margin winner at Chepstow last time, would not be out of this if getting to the lead early.

The staying hurdle that kicks off ITV’s coverage (1.55) is a quality contest with Sizeable Sam an exciting prospect stepped up in trip to 3 miles after a battling win at Wincanton last time out. He looks sure to play a big hand here along with Southfield Harvest, who has looked in need of the step back up to this trip in two starts this season, whilst Dhowin is another contender for whom this trip ought to be ideal.

Es Perfecto, a point winner over three miles, could also play a big hand here, having lacked the speed to cope with Bravemansgame in a small field contest last time over course and distance, and it’s certainly a race for the notebook.

The same could be said of the opening novices’ hurdle, where Ahorsewithnoname makes her second start over hurdles after finishing second on her hurdling debut in a listed contest here, whilst Good Ball passed three horses (including the reopposing contender and subsequent winner Gowel Road) to take victory in an Introductory Hurdle here in December. Add in the fascinating hurdling debutants Nobby and Defining Battle, and there’ll be much to learn from that opener.

The same can be said about the closing listed bumper (4.45), which should give some pointers to the best of the British challenge to Kilcruit and Sir Gerhard.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK Mister Coffey 1 pt win in 3.35 Newbury with starsports.bet
BACK Milkwood 1 pt win in 3.35 Newbury at 11/1 with starsports.bet


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