ITV Racing Tips: JP/Jonjo novice could be anything

 | December 29 | 

5 mins read

newbury races scaled

I hope you're all having an enjoyable Festive period. There's certainly been some fabulous racing on the box, and there are more beauties to unwrap on Saturday courtesy of the ITV cameras.

We're nearly done with 2023, and a whole new year beckons us beguilingly.

Thanks a million for all your support and interest, and may I wish you all the very best for the upcoming 2024.

Right - we've four from Newbury on Saturday, and additional gems from Haydock and Taunton. Here's the menu;

Newbury
13:50 Coral Bet Bundles Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f
14:25 Coral Mandarin Handicap Chase 3m 1f
15:00 Coral Challow Novices' Hurdle 3m 2f
15:35 Coral Handicap Chase 2m 6f

Haydock
13:25 Betfred Last Fling Handicap Chase

Taunton
14:10 Byerley Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle 2m
14:45 Stables Business Park Handicap Hurdle

ITV Racing tips, Saturday

  • 13:25 Haydock - Fortescue @ 9/2
  • 13:50 Newbury - Steal A March @ 7/2
  • 14:10 Taunton - Queens Gamble @ 10/11
  • 14:25 Newbury - Surrey Quest @ 5/1
  • 14:45 Taunton - Hurricane Harvey @ 11/2
  • 15:00 Newbury - Johnnywho @ 9/2
  • 15:35 Newbury - Walking On Air @ 7/2

13:25 Haydock - Fortescue @ 9/2

Think of Henry Daly horses and I'm immediately in the realms of real tough stayers, relishing a trip and possibly deep ground. Back in the day Dickie Johnson could well have been on board, but that brilliant second-fiddle to AP McCoy retired a few years ago. Managed a few champion jockey titles though when AP called it a day, thank goodness. Richly deserved.

Henry remains in the game, and his Fortescue fits the bill here for me perfectly. Goes on the likely heavy ground, has undoubted ability and has run well here before.

It's going to take some getting and some winning - especially with 12st on his back - but supporting a Daly charge under these conditions has proved a shrewd ploy in the past. Here's to a glorious repeat.

Fortescue 13.25 Haydock

13:50 Newbury - Steal A March @ 7/2

Nicky Henderson trains for HM The King, and Nico is in the saddle.

A decent staying hurdler who gets further; and after a brief try at the latter appears to prefer timber-topping to fencing. Last two efforts have seen one narrow defeat by less than a length, and a deserved success at Wincanton, in form as good as anything he's yet produced.

The trainer loves having a winner at Newbury and the Royal connection makes it even more intriguing.

Steal a March 13.50 Newbury

14:10 Taunton - Queens Gamble @ 10/11

Up-and-coming trainer Harry Derham (3 wins from his last 9 runners) has a very nice 5-yr-old novice hurdler in his care in the shape of Queens Gamble. Has a bit to find on official marks with the Twiston-Davies horse Casa No Mento, but she's progressive.

These two mares dominate the market and should in theory fight out the finish to this Listed affair. Cracking contest for the track.

Queens Gamble 14.10 Taunton

14:25 Newbury - Surrey Quest @ 5/1

3m 2f around this big, testing Grade One circuit. No place for the faint of heart.

The selection is a 6-yr-old gelded son of Milan, trained by Toby Lawes in, er, Surrey. He's up 8lb for a straightforward success 61 days ago at Huntingdon and steps up considerably here in terms of what's on his plate. The excellent James Bowen rides, and he's won on him previously.

I'm not sure this is the most glittering renewal of the Mandarin but it does look very competitive. An ex-Henderson inmate, Surrey Quest had wind surgery after that recent success and might just be a shade better than he's been able to show so far.

Surrey Quest 14.25 Newbury

14:45 Taunton - Hurricane Harvey @ 11/2

Claimer Jack Hogan rides for trainer Fergal O'Brien.

Hurricane Harvey is 9, and a gelded son of the great King George and Hardwicke Stakes winner Doyen, who's proved to be a top NH sire. He's only 2lb above his last winning mark, and takes a class drop compared to his last two outings.

He's had 3 spins now since reappearing after a 172-day break, and might just be cherry-ripe for this. Has plenty of ability and has run well at big tracks like Cheltenham. Represents decent value in my book.

Hurricane Harvey 14.45 Taunton

15:00 Newbury - Johnnywho @ 9/2

A Grade One novices' hurdle, and a Jonjo/Jonjo Jr/JP McManus horse of tremendous promise.

Johnnywho is unbeaten in three starts to date - a Point, a bumper, and a novice hurdle. The Racing Post comments for those wins end with the words 'easily,' 'impressive,' and once again 'impressive,' respectively.

Not hard then to enthuse about his chances, and it would be reassuring to see his owner, a marvellous supporter of racing, present in Berkshire to watch on Saturday. Confidence levels would rise accordingly! It's a lovely race, with Nicholls and Henderson notable among his adversaries, but this one could be anything.

Johnnywho 15.00 Newbury

15:35 Newbury - Walking On Air @ 7/2

A 138-rated, 6-yr-old hurdler of Nicky Henderson's making his chasing debut.

To bring him to his local track says to me that there's a degree of stable confidence in the camp. No disrespect to other venues, but it would have been perhaps easier to go to a less demanding course for this first crack at the larger obstacles. I'm hopeful he's been showing plenty, and schooling well at home.

Last ran at Punchestown in the spring and had previously performed well to be fifth in the Pertemps Final at the Festival in March. Always a big deal when a Hendo horse steps up like this and let's hope the feeling of anticipation is well founded. Another smashing contest.

Walking on Air 15.35 Newbury

ITV Racing tips, from Betfred Insights.

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