What happened at Newbury last Saturday was felt across the horse racing world, but the British Horseracing Authority and Newbury racecourse should receive commendation for their handling of the rescheduling of Saturday’s meeting.
Channel Four will cover the rescheduled meeting at Newbury on Friday, and punters are in for a treat with plenty of Cheltenham Festival hopefuls in action.
The highlight of Friday’s card are the Totesport Game Spirit Chase and the Totesport Trophy hurdle – a race that has produced two Champion Hurdle winners in its 21-year history.
Connections of Walkon will be hoping that he becomes the third winner of this race to go on to Champion Hurdle victory, and the ante post 5/1 joint-favourite for the Totesport Trophy, is a huge price at 33/1 to win the Champion Hurdle.
Considering Walkon has only ever lost to two horses in his seven-race career, he looks a strong bet in both races in what are very competitive betting markets.
Friday’s Totesport Trophy betting market sees Walkon share 5/1 favouritism with another Cheltenham Festival hopeful Soldatino.
Soldatino is also 33/1 for the Champion Hurdle but last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner finished sixth behind Tiger O’Toole at Ascot in January – a race in which Walkon finished second – when hampered at the second last.
It should be a fascinating rematch between two quality hurdlers, but last year’s winner Get Me Out Of Here is hoping to retain his crown and is 8/1 to do so.
It’s a very competitive betting market and there is plenty of interest in Solix (12/1), a French-bred five-year-old who is yet to be seen over hurdles in Britain.
A win for either Walkon or Soldatino would see their Champion Hurdle odds cut dramatically and punters should examine the ante post Champion Hurdle market before Friday’s race.
A £25 stake on Walkon winning the Champion Hurdle would return £810. New customers can sign up here for a free horse racing bet worth £25.