Race Time: 2.35pm Meeting: Newbury
Distance: 2m 5f
Full Race Name: EBF Stallions & TBA Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle Finale Limited Handicap (Listed)
Our tip for the 2.35pm Newbury live on Channel 4 is:
Trainer David Pipe certainly has his string in fine form of late with six winners from his last 42 runners (correct at the time of writing), and if he sends the ultra consistent Twentytwo’s Taken (9/1) here then I suspect he will be more than a little popular with the punters.
After two wins and a second place in Irish bumpers he was bought by current connections and moved to the Pipe yard and has continued that sort of form with a hurdles win at Fakenham, another second place at Plumpton, and a win last time out at Exeter, where he made a few mistakes but still had plenty left in the locker as he jogged over the line. This would be his first attempt at this sort of trip having never raced beyond two miles and a solitary furlong before, but as he seems to prefer racing in behind others, covered up until brought with a winning run, there is every reason to think he should get home here if they let him take that option (also declared here Friday and for Fontwell Saturday).
Anthony Honeyball is a trainer I watch carefully as he is more than capable of winning decent races when he has the fright horses and as he has already won three contests in a row with Cresswell Breeze (10/1) since being stepped up from the minimum trip, all things are possible. Whether this distance is stamina challenging enough to see him at his best on this ground does seem doubtful to be honest, and the quicker ground could possibly draw him in to more hurdling errors, but to be fair he has gone clear a long way out each time and if he turns up on the day, he must have each way chances.
For my final mention, how about the Charlie Longsdon trained Kalane (9/1) who may have escaped the handicappers attentions and got in here under the radar. Third of eleven on her hurdling bow in France, she was moved over to the UK afterwards and won her first race here at Southwell when beating favourite and bumper winner Monbeg Theatre by four and a half lengths.
That form looks pretty decent with the runner up winning twice since but she then disappeared from sight until turning out again after over three months off at Exeter when weak in the market (started 20/1), and looking very one paced back in third. Stepped up in trip here and with that run under her belt, she certainly has more room for improvement than all of her rivals and her mark of 120 looks pretty generous when you consider the latest rating of 130 allotted to Monbeg Theatre.