ITV Racing Tips: Thistlecrack and Willoughby Court to star at Newbury

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A whole host of star names will spring into action this Friday on the first day of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.

While the racing begins at 12:20 with the National Hunt Maiden Hurdle, the ITV coverage doesn’t start until 13:50.

But what a corker we kick-off with, as Willoughby Court and Yanworth duel for honours in the Ladbrokes Novices’ Chase.

Looking forward to that (plus Thistlecrack later on in the day), it’s the ITV Racing Tips

NAP – Thistlecrack – 15:00, Newbury

One of jump racing’s stars is back and raring to go.

Thistlecrack makes his hotly-anticipated return over hurdles instead of fences on his comeback from injury.

And even faced with the challenge of Unowhatimeanharry, Colin Tizzard’s mount should have the quality to mark his reappearance with a win.

He’s won over this distance and longer before, including when landing the 2015 edition of this race.

The nine-year-old has been successful on his last five runs over hurdles and is taken to get back into the swing of things at Newbury.

NB – Willoughby Court – 13:50, Newbury

ITV kick their coverage off with a treat as Willoughby Court and Yanworth face-off in the Ladbrokes Novices’ Chase.

These are a pair of top-class hurdlers who will be looking to lay down a serious marker in their respective novice chasing seasons.

Yanworth was far from impressive when falling at Exeter last month and that means it’s Willoughby Court that gets the nod from us.

The Irish-bred raider is a natural over this distance and made all to land a maiden success over sticks at Huntington.

He’ll only improve on that run here and he gets our backing to spring a mini-upset against the market leader.

Lively Longshot – Hello George – 15:35, Newbury

In what looks to be an open contest in the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle, we think that Hello George can claim success for Phillip Hobbs.

The eight-year-old went well on heavy ground at Ayr last time out over 3m½f and has the credentials to perform well again on softer ground this time around.

Main challenger Boyhood struggled the last time he attempted a trip anywhere near this distance. Meanwhile, Whataknight has consistently failed to impress in Class 2 company.

As a result, we’re backing Hello George to handle step up in class and get the win at a handy price under the guidance of in-form jockey Richard Johnson.

ITV Racing Tips

13:50 Newbury – Willoughby Court (NB)

14:25 Newbury – Ridgeway Flyer

15:00 Newbury – Thistlecrack (NAP)

15:35 Newbury – Hello George (Lively Longshot) 

Click here for the latest Horse Racing odds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the University of East Anglia where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper Concrete. He also supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Other passions include darts, cricket, speedway and horse racing.