Racing: Before I comment on tomorrow's card at Newbury, and in particular the Challow Hurdle and Mandarin Chase, I wanted to suggest a small each-way ante-post wager for the rescheduled Coral Welsh National Handicap Chase on Saturday January 5.
All the money for this stamina-sapping event since the weights were released has been for the locally trained Teaforthree and he certainly did his claims no harm at all with a very solid run in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
However, a price of around the 7/2 mark looks too short for me now and there is huge each-way value to be had with the 16/1 shot Alfie Spinner.
The Nick Williams-trained charge has had this race as his main aim this season, ever since he landed the staying novice chase event on the same card in 2011 when he out-galloped Maringo Bay to the tune of a length and a quarter in very soft conditions.
This season started in eye-catching fashion when the second season chaser stayed on nicely in the closing stages at Ascot to finish just over 13 lengths off the smart Roberto Goldback over an inadequate three miles.
He then took an uncharacteristic early exit when unseating Mark Quinlan at the second in the Hennessy.
That premature departure may prove a blessing in disguise though, as it spared him from a hard race and he arrives at his favourite venue fit and fresh and well handicapped in my view.
Teaforthree should be in the mix, while I also have plenty of time for the improving Universal Soldier and the Paul Nicholls-trained Michel Le Bon.
As far as tomorrow afternoon is concerned the Grade One Challow Hurdle at Newbury (2.45) looks a tough call and I finally decided to side with Easter Day, so impressed was I with his galloping performance at Ascot last time out.
He travelled much like the best horse through the race that day and once let loose by Daryl Jacob galloped clear of the well-regarded Dursey Sound.
Of course this is a bigger ask for the four-year-old but he could well be up to beating the likes of Clondaw Kaempfer and Sandown heavy ground winner Taquin Du Seuil.
The Mandarin Handicap Chase at 2.10 looks even more wide open and the each-way call here could be to ride in with the aforementioned Maringo Bay after his running-on effort at Chepstow last time out.
I think we have yet to see the very best of Charlie Mann’s charge and he probably has most to fear from Monbeg Dude.
On the all-weather at Wolverhampton, Where’s Riley should prove hard to beat in the 2.05, while I also fancy Nolecce (3.40) and Flywheel in the nursery at 2.10.
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