Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: UK Racing Best Bets - Saturday 8 February 2020

UK Racing Best Bets - Saturday 8 February 2020

UK Racing Best Bets

Neil Morrice walks you through the front runners for Saturday's racing at 
Newbury, Warwick, Wolverhampton, Uttoxeter and 
Lingfield Park. This will include the feature race analysis for the Agetur UK Kingmaker Novices’ Chase, Betfair Denman Chase and Betfair Hurdle. 

There’s been a lot of thought gone into the late preparation of NOT SO SLEEPY whose presence in the weekend highlight depended on a midweek gallop and schooling session. The bold front runner has taken his rivals apart on two visits to Ascot but it’s unlikely his foes will allow him that amount of rope, especially taking into account there are other confirmed pacesetters in the field. Nevertheless, his trainer Hughie Morrison is a master at laying one out for a major prize and thinks his charge could be Champion Hurdle material.

Novices have won the last four renewals which augers well for the likes of THEBANNERKINGREBEL, ECCO and NEVER ADAPT.

Thebannerkingrebel was hampered at the final flight when beaten by Stolen Silver at Haydock and has a good chance of turning the tables. He’s been the subject of intensive market support and his single figure price marks him as one to take seriously.

Ecco delivered in two minor races before placing behind the useful Fred at Kempton on Boxing Day. That form was boosted when Fred followed up at Musselburgh, but he probably has something to find.

NEVER ADAPT, owned by legendary gambler JP McManus, bids to add to trainer Nicky Henderson’s fine record in this race. He works like a class act and converted some lumpy bets when bolting up at Kempton last month. He oozed class on that occasion, and though jumping up in class has the potential to handle it.

McManus also has claims with the only Irish-trainer runner, CIEL DE NEIGE, representing Willie Mullins. He’s knocked on the door and although turned over at 1-4 when last seen at Limerick is a horse with a lot of natural ability that will like the way this race is run.

No trainer has his horses in better form than Evan Williams whose MACK THE MAN heads the market at 6-1 with Hollywoodbets. The 6yo seems a different horse this season and scored with something up his sleeve in a Class 1 at Sandown before Christmas. The layers have been running scared of him, but he’ll possibly encounter better ground on Saturday, and is worth taking on.
A couple of lively outsiders are the ultra-consistent OAKLEY and hat-trick seeking HIGHLY PRIZED and neither can be safely left out.

Oakley can show his form more regularly than most in this division and is a must for a place finish (1234 or 12345), while Highly Prized won with any amount in hand at Huntingdon, albeit back in November.



2nd Never Adapt

3rd Thebannerkingrebel

4th Oakley

5th Ciel De Neige

6th Mack The Man

The proverbial ‘good thing’ on an excellent card is former Gold Cup winner NATIVE RIVER, likely to go off long odds on to boost his chances of recapturing chasing’s blue riband at Cheltenham next month.

In each of three outings last season he ran well in defeat, and wasn’t troubled to take advantage of the early exit of MIGHT BITE to come home unchallenged at Aintree in December. As a dour stayer he will appreciate testing conditions, and should stormy weather arrive it should make him even more hard to resist.

Might Bite has disappeared into chasing’s wilderness over the past two seasons and failed to complete in three out of five starts. Pulled up at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, he needs a major revival of fortune to threaten his old rival.

The other five starters appear hopelessly outclassed, but if Might Bite fails to complete can have a say in the exacta and trifecta dividends.

ACTIVIAL was in front when unseating at Haydock and as that was back in November he’s a fresh horse.

SECRET INVESTER represents champion trainer Paul Nicholls, having started as one of the favourites for the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup. He’s been given plenty of time to get over that poor effort, and may well be happier operating in this smaller field. 



2nd Activial

3rd Secret Investor

4th Might Bite

This traditional trial for the Arkle Trophy is an absolute cracker and if jumping influences the outcome then NUBE NEGRA is perhaps the safest option. Interestingly he has winning form over the course and distance and will encounter similar ground. The Sandown terrain was a shade too testing for him when he had to concede best to Esprit Du Large in a Grade 1, since when he’s been freshened up for this final start ahead of the Festival.

ROUGE VIF represents a stable that plundered the prize with Saint Calvados two years ago, and while he’s not perhaps as good as his stablemate, he’s maintained a high level of form for Harry Whittington since being switched to fences. After cosily scoring at Market Rasen, he flopped at Cheltenham only for a wind operation to inspire him to another bold effort when chasing home Global Citizen at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Another who likes this track is the hooded TORPILLO, and if returning to that form Nigel Twiston-Davies’s runner could have a big say. However this good looking individual needs to bounce back from a Sandown defeat in which Nube Negra finished well clear of him.

Nicky Henderson’s PRECIOUS CARGO was worried out of it by MOONLIGHTER at Newbury next month but will probably turn the tables on 3lb better terms. However, whether that’s also enough to take the spoils is open to question.



2nd Rouge Vif

3rd Torpillo

4th Precious Cargo

Newbury Undercard Best Bets

Race 2: VIVE LE ROI (2) (Each Way)
Trainer: Tony Carroll  - Jockey: Harry Bannister

Although he would have finished further back but for fallers when second in the Lanzarote Hurdle, VIVE LE ROI nevertheless get into the shake up in this stayers’ hurdle. The gelding was doing his best work at the finish on that much easier track and with today’s step up in trip also in his favour he can earn. It’s also worth noting that his last success happened over this course and distance.

Trainer: Paul Nicholls - Jockey: Harry Cobden

If there’s a hole in the amazing Altior then DYNAMITE DOLLARS is just the type of progressive horse to exploit it in this fascinating Game Spirit Chase. Injury has kept the selection on the sidelines for more than a year but when scoring at Doncaster just over a year ago he was notching a fourth win from just five chase outings. Although the vibes from the stable are that he will come on for the run, he’s been working with all his panache and can provide a major upset.

Trainer: Dan Skelton - Jockey: Bridget Andrews

Some big reputations are there to be shot down in this concluding bumper, and while Adrimel could be a bit special I just prefer WILDE ABOUT OSCAR who could hardly have been more impressive when opening his account at Warwick.

Warwick Best Bets

Trainer: Paul Webber - Jockey: McLernon

If she can be excused her wide-margin defeat at Sandown then INDEFATIGABLE is the one to beat in this Listed mares’ hurdle. Prior to that, she ran huge races in defeat against the likes of Lady Buttons and Dame De which makes her the one to be on this first visit to her local course, one that should suit her style of running.

Race 6: CADZAND (1)
Trainer: Dan Skelton - Jockey: Harry Skelton 

CADZAND contested one of the best bumpers staged this season when third to Son Of Camas at Newbury in November and has enjoyed a nice freshening break. A winner of his only previous start last season, he’s highly regarded and if impressing here could head for the Festival Bumper.

Lingfield Park Best Bets

Race 5: NEW ARRIVAL (9) 
Trainer: James Tate - Jockey: Ben Curtis

The only bet on this tricky card is NEW ARRIVAL who in spite of getting the worst of the draw still appears to hold the cards in this maiden. She’s troubled the judge on all three career starts and knows her way round here, having chased home Portugueseprincess over course and distance three weeks ago.

Wolverhampton Best Bets

Race 3: THAAYER (8) 
Trainer: Michael Herrington - Jockey: Tom Eaves 

From a yard whose trainer is adept at getting a tune out of cast-offs from other stables, THAAYER holds good claims to lead throughout as he drops back to seven furlongs. The 5yo led for much of the way and only weakened inside the final furlong when fourth to Bond Angel on his reappearance and can progress from that.

Trainer: Ralph Beckett - Jockey: Richard Kingscote  

With her 5lb sex allowance, MARCELA DE VEGA has a good shot at taking down the twin Godolphin challenge of Regal Legacy and Kingswear in this stayers’ maiden. She was easy to back when reappearing over this course and distance last month but shaped with a deal of promise to lose out in a photo to Waleydd. That should have brought her nicely to the boil.

Uttoxeter Best Bets

Trainer: Fergal O’Brien - Jockey: Conor Brace

LIES ABOUT MILAN can light up the tail end of this card by endorsing the promise of his first two starts under Rules. His recent form reads well and when beaten inches by Golden Sovereign over course and distance was only denied after looking in control all the way up the home straight. He knows his way round here, and can go one better.

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