Friday Newbury tips 29 November – Selections for day one of the Winter Festival meeting

Newbury races.Newbury races.

Race-by-race selections for day one of the Newbury Winter Festival. Brian Healy gives his tips for the opening day of Friday's top-class feature meeting.

Friday’s opening day for the Newbury Winter Festival meeting sponsored by leading bookmaker Ladbrokes sees some top-class jumps racing action going to post, headlined by the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle which could see the return of reigning Stayers’ Hurdle champion Paisley Park amongst others.

Also on the agenda at the Berkshire track on Friday is the Grade Two Berkshire Novices’ Chase, as well as some solid supporting handicap action, so there is plenty for punters to look forward to.

12:15 – Ladbrokes “Where The Nation Plays” “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle Cl3 (4yo+) 2m½f
12:45 – Ladbrokes Chase (A Novices’ Limited Handicap) (for The Fulke Walwyn Trophy) Cl3 (4yo+ 0-140) 2m½f
1:20 – Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boosts Novices’ Hurdle Cl3 (4yo+) 2m4½f
1:50 – Get Your Ladbrokes £1 Free Bet Today Handicap Chase Cl2 (4yo+) 2m4f
2:25 – Ladbrokes “Where The Nation Plays” Novices’ Chase (Registered As The Berkshire) (Grade 2) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4f
3:00 – Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle (Grade 2) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
3:35 – Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle Cl2 (4yo+ 0-145) 3m

The pick of Friday’s action from Newbury will be shown live on ITV Racing where Ed Chamberlain and his team will have four races live from the Berkshire track, including both Grade Two contests where they will have their usual expert tips, insights and post-race analysis on all the live TV racing.

And Brian Healy gives his selections for all seven races on a top-quality racecard on Friday at Newbury.

ITV Racing

ITV Racing has four races live from Newbury on Friday.

12:15 – Ladbrokes “Where The Nation Plays” “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle Cl3 (4yo+) 2m½f

COCONUT SPLASH (7/2, Ladbrokes) showed plenty on his first outing over timber when denied only by a nose at Aintree last month, and with the run and experience under his belt then Evan Willams’ charge can improve on that effort to go one better here.

Along with the winner, the pair had pulled five lengths clear of the third – a subsequent winner himself – and the Stowaway gelding should come on for the run which was his yard debut since joining from Cormac Doyle having won an Irish point-to-point at Castletown- Geoghegan.

He tries a shorter trip here, but if coping with the lesser yardage over this stiffer track then he ought to go well, and no surprise to see him open his account here.

12:45 – Ladbrokes Chase (A Novices’ Limited Handicap) (for The Fulke Walwyn Trophy) Cl3 (4yo+ 0-140) 2m½f

KHAGE (6/1, Ladbrokes) rounded off last season over hurdles in good heart, winning his final two outings – both at Chepstow – and Harry Whittington’s charge can build on his reappearance effort at Carlisle over fences last month which looked needed.

The Stowaway gelding finished around eight lengths’ fifth behind The King Of May, possibly doing too much out in front and fading as his stamina ebbed away; but he ought to be sharper now and the runner-up from that run has gone on to win since.

Likely to improve for the experience and the run, he could prove the answer in a tricky race; but given his useful form over hurdles last term, he can show progress on the back of that effort to get back to winning ways here.

Trainer Harry Whittington

1:20 – Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boosts Novices’ Hurdle Cl3 (4yo+) 2m4½f

FAUSTINOVIC (5/2, Bet365) showed plenty on his racecourse debut here back in March when finding only Mcfabulous too good in a bumper, and Colin Tizzard’s charge found a jolt of improvement switched to hurdles for his reappearance at Carlisle latest where he again filled the runner-up berth.

Beaten four lengths behind Glenduff, the Black Sam Bellamy gelding was making his return from eight months off the track and may just have needed that return to action; but he is expected to strip fitter for that effort, and he could show improvement for that first experience of hurdling to go one better.

With Colin Tizzard’s yard in good heart at present, he looks one who could have a decent future and every chance he can get off the mark in this contest.

1:50 – Get Your Ladbrokes £1 Free Bet Today Handicap Chase Cl2 (4yo+) 2m4f

Kalashnikov could prove a tough nut to beat here, but he has plenty of weight for quite a small horse, and it could be worth chancing on a return to form on his reappearance from GLEN FORSA (13/2, William Hill) who downed Amy Murphy’s charge last term in the rearranged Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Sandown.

Subsequent efforts by Mick Channon’s charge were disappointing, falling in the Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and then pulled up at Aintree in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase won by Kalashnikov having not jumped well.

The Mahler gelding perhaps has something to prove now on the back of those lesser efforts; but if he can recapture the sort of form from last season which saw him win three in a row at distances between two and three miles then he could go well.

He gets weight from Kalashnikov for this latest clash between the pair, andit might be worth chancing on his well-being to bounce back from his disappointing efforts at the end of the last campaign.

2:25 – Ladbrokes “Where The Nation Plays” Novices’ Chase (Registered As The Berkshire) (Grade 2) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4f

A cracking contest despite the small field, and both Champ and BLACK OP (11/4, Bet365) made taking and impressive returns when winning their respective races, although narrow preference is for Tom George’s charge who benefited from a change of tactics to score easily at Stratford.

The Sandmason gelding struggled last term over fences and hurdles, beaten on both chase starts – admittedly behind Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation respectively – before spending the second half of the season over hurdles where he was disappointing.

However, he had wind surgery ahead of his return to action last month and made every post a winning one as he jumped well throughout to bully his field and run out an easy winner over Mr Antolini where he was value for more than the official winning margin.
That form has been knocked a couple of times since, but he could do no more than win and open to plenty of improvement he can follow up if similar tactics help elicit further progress.

3:00 – Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle (Grade 2) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m

PAISLEY PARK (8/13, Ladbrokes) progressed hand over fist last term to carry all before him in the stayers’ division, and Emma Lavelle’s Oscar gelding can carry on where he left off by extending his unbeaten run to six.

A winner of both of his seasonal debuts, he clearly goes well fresh and his haul last term included not only the Cheltenham showpiece, but also the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot and the Cleeve Hurdle before demolishing his field at the Festival.

He won despite looking outpaced coming down the hill and turning into the straight for the climb to the line; but he sprouted wings under Aidan Coleman to hit the front before the last, and despite a mistake powered away for a ready success over Sam Spinner and others.

He’s likely to prove a tough nut to crack in this division again this season, and he should make a winning return if all is well ahead of his reappearance.

3:35 – Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle Cl2 (4yo+ 0-145) 3m

DOLPHIN SQUARE (5/1, William Hill) has won three of his five starts over hurdles, latterly scoring by a short-head over Kiltealy Briggs at Wincanton last month; Philip Hobbs’ charge can keep his good run going however, and he can win again here.

The Shantou gelding had finished runner-up the time before over this trip, and that form has been boosted by the winner going in again since; while he himself went one better latest, and the second has also gone on to win next time out.

That was over shorter than this, and he could benefit from the step back up in trip where he turns out here from the same mark which leaves him 6lbs well in at the weights; and given he is due to go up in the ratings in future runs, he could take advantage of his current rating to land further success under his top amateur rider.


12.15 – COCONUT SPLASH (7/2, Ladbrokes)
12.45 – KHAGE (6/1, Ladbrokes)
1.20 – FAUSTINOVIC (5/2, Bet365)
1.50 – GLEN FORSA (13/2, William Hill)
2.25 – BLACK OP (11/4, Bet365)
3.00 – PAISLEY PARK (8/13, Ladbrokes)
3.35 – DOLPHIN SQUARE (5/1, William Hill)