The feature race at Newbury on Saturday is the £45,000 Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle over two and a half miles at 3.00. This race has been won by some high class horses over the years, many of which have gone on to prove top class chasers. Notable previous winners include Bonanza Boy (1987), Forest Sun (1989), Denman (2006), Reve de Sivola (2009) and Taquin du Seuil (2012).
Nicky Henderson had mixed fortunes at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. Might Bite was disappointing in the King George while Verdana Blue upset stable companion Buveur D’Air in the Christmas Hurdle. He saddles the favourite here in Champ, the impressive winner of his last three races. The son of King’s Theatre comfortably beat Le Musee off a handicap rating of 139 over course and distance at the start of the month. He has been raised 11lbs for that success, making him the highest rated runner in this field.
Coolanly won the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, beating Pym by three and a quarter lengths. He was confidently ridden that day by Paddy Brennan, making amends for an early fall at Chepstow in his previous race. The Flemensfirth gelding was highly tried last season and is finally starting to fulfil his early promise.
Brewin’Upastorm was a smooth winner of a two miles novices’ hurdle at Huntingdon on his seasonal debut. Olly Murphy’s five-year-old showed promise in national hunt flat races last season, winning by nine lengths at Hereford in January.
Kateson is seeking a hat-trick for Tom Lacey after victories at Chepstow and over course and distance in November. The grey stayed on strongly to beat Mr Pumblechook by a length and three-quarters in soft ground. Getaway Trump has also won his last two starts at Plumpton and Exeter. He was not extended on either occasion and the Paul Nicholls stable is flying after landing the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.
Alan King saddles Alsa Mix, a six-year-old mare by Al Namix out of a True Brave mere. She is unbeaten in three races under rules, most recently accounting for Darlac by three and a half lengths at Sandown in heavy ground. Nestor Park won by five lengths at Warwick last month having finished a long way behind Coolanly at Cheltenham on his previous start.
Challow Hurdle Betting Tips
CHAMP was very impressive in a handicap last time and looks capable of taking the step up in class. GETAWAY TRUMP could give him most to do while ALSA MIX also has each-way claims in a high class renewal.