Our man Chris Day has three early fancies for Warwick on Saturday including a 14/1 chance trained by Paul Nicholls in the big handicap chase.
Free racing tips: Best bets for Saturday January 16 at Warwick
With racing set to continue behind closed doors the Jumps season moves on to Warwick and Market Rasen on Saturday with the former’s McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Handicap Chase over three miles and five furlongs a recognised Randox Health Grand National trial.
Alan King, who has a fine record in this race, has Notanotherchance, a Bangor winner over three miles in November, entered. Unsurprisingly he heads the market and normal improvement for his first run of the season should mean the 7lbs rise for that victory is no impediment to his chances.
The third home in that race filled the runner-up berth in Saturday’s Coral Welsh National and there’s very little not to like. The trainer had always thought he needed better ground but his form on the current soft going is in the book and he shaped like he’d have little difficulty with the extra distance he’ll encounter here last time. However he’s favourite at around 6/1 and I’m not sure he’ll be much shorter on the day.
The other horse at the top of the market is Kerry Lee’s fast-improving dual Cheltenham winner Storm Control, a solid jumping front-runner who won his last race from just a five pounds lower mark in December when idling on the run in but rallying once the runner up got to his girths.
There were only three finishers in that race which is sandwiched between the Ladbrokes Trophy and Welsh National and may not have been the strongest contest but he should enjoy this test and the five fences down the back straight will play to his strengths at this course.
Nearly Perfect is an improving seven-year-old from the shrewd Neil King operation who do particularly well at Warwick. However he is up significantly in grade and eight pounds higher than for the last of his two wins at Wincanton so has to improve quite significantly to feature here.
A horse who always appears well in but rarely wins is Le Breuil and he disappointed me again at Aintree last time behind Vieux Lion Rouge in the Becher. Fifth last year and eight pounds lower here, he has every chance from a handicapping perspective but the question remains about whether he will deliver when asked.
It seems like Walk In The Mill is having his Aintree prep here after falling at The Chair in his bid for a hat-trick of Becher wins last time and, while I expect a decent run, the trainer will surely have left a bit to work on with April in mind while The Hollow Ginge followed up his excellent Ladbrokes Trophy fourth to Cloth Cap with a less than convincing display in the Welsh National on Saturday before eventually falling.
Paul Nicholls had a brilliant Saturday with seven winners and could have the best handicapped horse here in DANNY WHIZZBANG who finally gets the chance to try an extreme distance for which he has looked tailormade ever since winning at Newbury last season.
Pulled up in the Ladbrokes Trophy, there should be more time for him to get into a rhythm here and I fancy this eight-year-old to start making up for lost time from now on.
He has a Grade One placing around Kempton to his name and should be able to hold his position on the first circuit and I expect nothing to be finishing better off the home bend so I think 14/1 may underestimate his chances.
This card is always informative and the McCoy Contractors Hampton Novices’ Chase over three miles is normally a decent contest and produces a winner to follow.
Next Destination has run two great races for Paul Nicholls since leaving Willie Mullins and is the rightful favourite but he’ll be conceding 5lbs at the weekend to Colin Tizzard’s FIDDLERONTHEROOF, who finally gets the chance to try three miles, something he looks likely to relish.
He’s 5/1 here in receipt of that weight and hasn’t shaped badly in all his races this season although he only has one victory to show so far. He won last year’s Tolworth Hurdle so should have no trouble on class grounds and I think he’s a huge threat to the market leader before hopefully emerging as a credible British contender for the Festival Novices' Chase in a couple of months’ time.
The Ballymore Leamington Novices’ Hurdle, a Grade Two contest over two miles five furlongs, also usually throws up a decent winner and Tom Lacey’ Adrimel heads the market after a couple of useful early-season victories.
However, David Pipe has enjoyed a resurgence this term and has some nice novice hurdlers to look forward to in the second half of the campaign.
I feel his MAKE ME A BELIEVER is attractively priced up at 6/1 to follow-up his recent Cheltenham victory which looks just about the strongest form on display. He seems a strong stayer and should relish every yard of this trip on the forecast ground.
- Preview posted 1955 GMT on 11/01/2021