Although we still have unfinished business on the flat, including the Cesarewitch at Newmarket on Saturday, the National Hunt season kicks off at Chepstow on Friday. As the weather turns to gloom, we can all be brightened up by the return of our favourite superstars of the jumping sphere! We’ve gone through the card at Chepstow on Friday, and found four betting pointers (and some horse racing tips too!) for the beginning of the best time of the year (in my opinion!).
The season-opening Grade 2 Persian War Novices’ Hurdle is a race that has been farmed by Paul Nicholls, winning the race seven times. He’s done it with the likes of Silviniaco Conti and Wonderful Charm, with notable winners from other stables including Reve De Sivola, Fingal Bay and Blaklion. It’s clearly a race to watch with a view to the future and this year Nicholls’ sends out Trevelyn’s Corn.
Winning a point back in 2017, he was seen three times last season, scooping a maiden at Wincanton on his second start over timber. Three miles stretched him in the Grade 1 Sefton at Aintree when last seen, now dropping in both trip and grade on the back of a wind operation. He handles soft ground and makes obvious appeal.
In the last fourteen days, Adam Wedge has ridden twenty-seven horses, with seven of those going on to victory. That equates to a 25% strike-rate, with 40% of his rides finding themselves in the placings too. He has just one ride at Chepstow on Friday, with that being Evan Williams’ Still Believing.
She’s been off the scoresheet since landing a soft-ground, 3m 1f handicap chase at Hereford in December. She’s fallen four pounds below that mark now, with recent runs coming over a perhaps inadequate 2m 5f distance. She’ll relish this step back up in distance and she’s won on soft and heavy ground before, so a big effort couldn’t be ruled out!
In the past five seasons, Philip Hobbs has had 140 runners at Chepstow, with 29 returning to the winner’s enclosure, equating to a strike-rate of 21% from that large sample size. Paul Nicholls is the only trainer with a better strike-rate and Hobbs’ runs Truckin Away in the novices’ chase at 3.20pm.
He had some very smart form as a novice, including form that ties in with Lisnagar Oscar, who is currently favourite. He should improve plenty for the switch to fences and the champion jockey is aboard, so a big run has to be expected.