The Winter Carnival gets underway on Friday, 1 December and MARIE’S ROCK is the pick of Newbury tips from the meeting’s opening day. She returns to action in the feature 3m Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle (3:00) still unexposed as a stayer.
Trained by Nicky Henderson, this eight-year-old daughter of Milan has big wins at Cheltenham in the 2022 Mares’ Hurdle and 2023 Relkeel Hurdle on her CV. Pedigree experts will tell you that Marie’s Rock is out of the same dam as ill-fated Flat stayer Arcadian Sunrise. Stamina is not an issue for her.
Marie’s Rock gave an excellent account of herself when trying this trip for the first time in the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree on Grand National day. She chased home Sire Du Berlais and had Flooring Porter more than sixth lengths behind her in third.
Strong Form Claims
Splitting the horses who had won the last three Cheltenham Festival Stayers’ Hurdles between them is a big reason why Marie’s Rock is among Newbury tips for 1 December. Although the usual mares’ allowance is offset by a win in this grade last season, there should be more to come from her over this distance.
All of the best betting sites fear Marie’s Rock developing into a leading contender for what is a wide-open division. Against a couple of veterans past their prime in Dashel Drasher and Paisley Park, it’s easy to see why they have her as such a strong favourite here.
It’s hard to look past Marie’s Rock at odds of Evens with BetMGM, simply because of the lack of depth in the race. The other three runners have mountains to climb on ratings, whereas she brings strong form into it. Let’s call a spade a spade and punters should take the chance to double their money on Marie’s Rock.
Hyland Also Among Newbury Tips for Henderson
The Seven Barrows stable up the road from the track in Lambourn should have a good day. Another of Henderson’s best chances is HYLAND in the concluding 3m handicap hurdle (3:35). There’s no doubt that this six-year-old Turgeon gelding has improved since finishing second over course and distance in March.
Hyland chased home Emitom that day, but now races off a 13lb higher mark. He has earned that rise from the assessor because of back-to-back victories this autumn. After scoring at Warwick on reappearance, Hyland stepped back up in trip and landed a Pertemps Qualifier at Cheltenham’s Showcase Meeting.
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The way in which he stayed on up the hill to win going away by a couple of lengths impressed plenty of punters. Also enamoured was the handicapper, who has Hyland up a further 6lb. That’s not insurmountable, however, and he features among Newbury tips here while the ground remains good to soft.
Nico de Boinville is three from six on Hyland, so clearly gets on well with him. Many of the leading horse racing betting sites believe they can secure a double for Henderson with 888sport among those going 3/1 about their chances of landing the hat-trick.
Nickle Back the John Francome Value
In the race formerly known as the Berkshire Novices’ Chase, which honours John Francome, Sarah Humphrey’s NICKLE BACK looks value and completes our Newbury tips in this 2m 4f Grade 2 test earlier on the card (1:50). This seven-year-old son of Mustameet has come on leaps and bounds for tackling fences.
Nickle Back recorded wide-margin wins at Warwick and Stratford this autumn. Horses landing handicaps by 24 and 19 lengths respectively should step up into graded company, so that’s precisely what connections do with him. It’s not what Nickle Back has beaten on the track, but the manner in which he has won.
Humphrey has shown herself to be a capable trainer with the likes of Irish import Gloire D’Athon, but the mantle of stable flahbearer may now be taken up by this horse. Odds of 4/1 about Nickle Back with BetUK represent a real value alternative to Hermes Allen, who lacks steeplechase experience and race fitness.
Newbury Tips for 1 December
- Marie’s Rock (NAP) in the Long Distance Hurdle (3:00) @ Evs with BetMGM
- Hyland (NB) in the 3m handicap hurdle (3:35) @ 3/1 with 888sport
- Nickle Back in the 2m 4f John Francome Novices’ Chase (1:50) @ 4/1 with BetUK