We head to Newbury where the majority of races have a select few runners. That is not the case in the Betfair handicap hurdle with 14 runners declared in a wide open race.
Paul Nicholls was stumped by the poor performances of most of his runners last weekend bar winner Dolos. Earlier this week Paul shared that all the blood tests & others on his string had come back normal. I’m prepared to back one of his runners as he would not run his top performers such as Bravemansgame and Clan Des Obeaux unless he thought they were working good. Knappers Hill is a horse I like who was tough as teak in his bumper days. He beat Challow hurdle winner Stage Star at Ascot last season on route to landing the Grade 2 bumper at the Aintree Festival. Aintree is a fast galloping course similar to Newbury which bodes well. Knappers Hill has raced three times this season over hurdles winning twice. He was beaten by Jonbon last time out with Colonel Mustard second at Ascot in a race run at a farcical slow pace. Both Jonbon and Colonel Mustard have come out and run big races subsequently marking that form as strong. Knappers Hill will love the quicker tempo and testing long finish at Newbury today. A rating of 135 looks “tidy” as Paul Nicholls would say himself!
Gary Moore loves to target this race and I fancy Royaume Uni ahead of the shorter priced Fifty Ball. This son of Galileo will love the drying ground and flat course. It was his run when third to Lively Citizen and Broomfield Burg at Cheltenham in December that put him firmly on my Betfair hurdle list. Jamie Moore rode him into contention rounding the bottom bend and wasn’t overly hard on the horse from the final hurdle to the line when his chance of winning was gone. The front two have won races subsequently while Royaume Uni laboured on soft ground at Kempton last month. Today, Royaume Uni is 4lbs better off against Broomfield Burg who is an improving horse but can race freely. Jamie Moore is carrying just 10-2 today on Royaume Uni and that is just 2lbs above his minimum weight of the past year. We take the hint and back Royaume Uni at a working mans price.
1/2 Point Each Way Knappers Hill 10/1 Betfred, Paddy Power & Betfair SB, all paying 5 places.
1/2 Point Each Way Royaume Uni 14/1 Paddy Power & Betfair SB paying 5 places.
Compare Odds at https://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing/2022-02-12-newbury/15:35/winner