horse-racing

Where to watch racing this weekend

October 27, 2017

- Grant Whittington

As the UK enjoys something of an Indian summer, so too the horse racing season enters the final straight into the depths of autumn.

This weekend sees the action hot up across the length and breadth of the country, with stellar jump and flat meeting scheduled at iconic locations including Cheltenham, Newbury and Aintree to name but a few!

So, let’s take a look at the best places to watch racing this weekend and review the most likely winners and losers!

Newbury, Saturday 28th October

We start with the eight-race, flat meeting at Newbury, where there are two class one events to keep punters interested.

Take the Horris Hill Stakes, for example, which will feature a field of seven runners and see the winner walk away with an impressive cheque worth £22,684. The total prize fund is nearly £40,000, so there is plenty for the runners and riders to compete for across the seven furlong course.

A couple of runners are heavily fancied by bookmakers, including the Charles Hill’s trained Nebo. Priced at 5/2, this two-year old colt has placed in the top three during his last two outings, finishing the runner-up at Maisons-Laffitte on soft ground last time out. He also finished third in a field on nine at Newbury in good conditions in September, so he should compete hard for the top prize this time around.

Don’t discount the 16/1 shot Archie Mckellar, however, as this two-year old colt showed immense promise in his first two starts before romping to victory in a field of 13 at Kempton earlier this week. Although the competition will be much tougher here, he will certainly be competitive and is likely to see his odds shorten as the race draws closer.

Then we have the Radley Stakes for fillies, where a total of 14 runners will compete for a first prize of £17,013. Leading flat trainers Richard Hannon and Eve Johnson Houghton are represented here, so this could well be the most keenly-contested race of the whole day.

Hannon’s own Elysium Dream will certainly start with all the momentum, with the two-year old having nearly three weeks ago at Newmarket in a stellar field of 28. This was on good ground, and with similar conditions expected on Saturday he will probably start as the favourite to prevail. Johnson Houghton’s little-known Magnolia Springs should not be discounted, however, as the filly won at odds of 25/1 on her debut at Newbury last month, and definitely offers good value here.

Cheltenham, Saturday 28th October

On the same day, race-goers can look forward to a seven-race jump meeting at the iconic Cheltenham track. There are a number of class two races to look forward to here, many of which should be extremely close and hard fought.

We are particularly looking forward to the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle, which will take place over two miles, seven furlongs and should feature 19 runners. The winner will claim a prize of £15,640, making it one of the most lucrative events of the day and one that is not to be missed.

The early favourite with the bookmakers is the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding Thomas Campbell, who is priced at 6/1 despite some indifferent form of late. Although he won impressively over the hurdles at Ascot in November last year, he has not placed in the top three since and finished a disappointing seventh out of 16 runners last time out at Sandown. He retains considerable pedigree, however, and should be able to at least compete this time around.

At 15/2, the Dan Skelton trained Stick to the Pan is one of our top picks, however. Although he threw his rider off last time out at Southwell last time out, he won brilliantly at Perth over the hurdles in April and over a similar distance too. With similar conditions also expected, he may well be the runner to beat this time around.

In the Randox Health Handicap Chase, a total of 16 runners will compete for a first prize of £31,280 over the hurdles. With a total prize fund of nearly £50,000 on offer, this race could very well be the pick of the day at Cheltenham and it is certainly an exciting prospect.

We like the Colin Tizzard trained gelding Sizing Platinum here, particularly at odds of 13/2. The nine-year old contender appears to have benefited from a break during the summer, returning at Newton Abbot in October with an impressive win. Not only is he race fit and good in these conditions, but he also finished a credible second to Fox Norton during the same race last year and will be looking to go one better this time around.

Aintree, Sunday 29th October

We close with a superb, seven-race jump meeting at Aintree on Sunday, when some of the countries best horses will compete on a day of non-stop hurdle action.

The pick here is the intriguingly titled 188Bet Monet’s Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap, which is a grade two, class one race that will run over the two mile, three furlong course. 13 runners will compete for a top prize of £39,389, and there will be no shortage of talent on show when the contenders arrive under starters’ orders.

The clear front-runner here is the outstanding Cloudy Dream, who is trained by Malcolm Jefferson and enters the race is staggering form. This seven-year old gelding has placed in the top two in each of his last 10 outings dating back to 2015, while he also won last time out in similar conditions at Ayr. He can be backed at 4/1 for now, but these odds are sure to drop as the race draws closer.

The 11/2 shot Shantou Village arguably offers greater value, however, while he should push Cloudy Dream all the way. The Neil Mulholland trained gelding has won his last two chase outings at Sandown and Fontwell respectively, where he competed over similar lengths and vanquished accomplished fields. In total, he has won four of his last five meetings, with the only blemish being an unfortunate fall at Wincanton back in November 2016.

The winner should come from these two, although it is also a race that could well go to the wire!

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