You’d be forgiven for thinking we’d be settling into a reduced service from the horse racing calendar following the festive delights of Boxing Day and New Year’s Day; however, you’d be way off the mark. It’s the opening Saturday of 2019 and we have a schedule packed with big races at major meetings. Here are our top Sat 5th Jan Horse Racing betting tips.
Some of the highlights include the Unibet Mares Hurdle; Unibet Handicap Chase; Tolworth Novices Hurdle and 32Red Handicap Hurdle. That’s great news if you managed to bag a couple of winners during the celebrations; however, it also means there’s a real chance to help mend your broken bank account following an always expensive December.
With so much high-class racing on offer – bringing the sport’s best trainers, fearless jockeys and well-bred runners – it’s no mean feat to choose the horses that are going to deliver a profit. That’s why we’ve picked the brains of our expert team of tipsters and sports betting boffins to pass on some insider knowledge.
We have studied the form and figures, compared the best betting odds and offers and put them together to present our views on how best to invest your stake money on Saturday.
Unibet Mares Hurdle
Run at Sandown over a distance of two miles, three furlongs this class one Mares Hurdle sets off at 12.45pm. It is the second race in what promises to be a thrilling afternoon on the Surrey turf. Bookmakers had no problems picking their favourite during the build-up with ante-post favourite Laurina attracting attention since the market was announced and she’s currently a 4/9 shot.
Willie Mullins’ five-year-old brings a perfect four-race record to track; she’s won each of her starts to date with a bit to spare and that goes some way to explaining why the money men are so keen to keep her close. The bay got off to a winning start when scoring around Tramore last December. She scooted home a whole 15 lengths ahead of runner-up Mag Brady.
Laurina proved that it was no fluke when adding victories at Fairyhouse a few weeks later; then at the Cheltenham Festival last year and, most recently when putting in a career-best performance to win the Grade 1 Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final in Ireland at the tail-end of last season.
She hasn’t been seen since; however, we’re confident the time away would’ve allowed her to improve at her own pace and she’s picked to explode to a fifth career win. Not a great price but we really can’t see anything getting near her and would advise sticking her into the acca of the day.
Unibet Handicap Chase
Run at 1.50pm, we have the Unibet Handicap Chase. This looks a rather more open contest with traders at a loss to nail down a convincing winner. Gino Trail headed up the ante-post list at 10/3 – top price when betting with William Hill; this was followed by Capeland at 4/1 with 888sport. If the betting is to be trusted it appears this will be a two-horse race over 1m 7f for this Class 2 prize; third in line, Tara Bridge, carries a 13/2 price tag.
We’re happy to take a bit more of a gamble in this one and back the experience of Yorkist to spring a surprise. A seasoned campaigner, yes, but Dan Skelton’s hope has the background and recent form to go close on Saturday; he looks to have been overlooked a little too easily by the odds-makers, which surprised us. Backers will get a cracking 8/1 with most firms, including Bet365 if following our thinking and that could appeal to each-way players.
Yorkist has been active of late; he was seen winning around Aintree in a handicap chase over this trip in November, seeing off a host of talented rivals despite starting as a 14/1 no-hoper. The 11-year-old gelding beat runner-up Theflyingpotrait by six lengths and we’re happy to stick with him. Let’s hope the team can upset the applecart once more.
Tolworth Novices Hurdle
Finally, we have a super competitive race off at 2.25pm and the Tolworth Novices Hurdle will be decided over 1m 7f. A Class 1, it’s another where the front two in the betting are expected to dominate with Rathhill 7/4 (William Hill) favourite and Elixir De Nutz coming in as the main challenger at 3/1 with Ladbrokes.
Two talented horses, but we make the battle a 50/50 shoot-out so will be going with the latter to collect the prize money for connections. Colin Tizzard’s eye-catching grey is a progressive sort but it took a while for the penny to drop, finishing last at Cheltenham on debut before falling at Uttoxeter next time out. Not many stuck with him after that but the five-year-old was second next time out in a maiden hurdle at Cheltenham before reeling off back-to-back wins.
Success at Prestbury Park
Both came at Prestbury Park with the first of those over two miles in a Novices Hurdle in November, beating Itchy Feet by more than a length, before he did the same when sent off a 6/5 fav in mid-December, holding Jarveys Plate by 1 ¾ lengths. Confidence is returning and we’re going to take a chance on Elixir De Nutz completing the hat-trick. This is a major step up in class, of course; however, he’s good enough to kick on in the new year and rattle a few cages. At that price, we’d say back him for interest stakes and hope he delivers his best.
Nicky Henderson’s Rathhill has run only once before, making a winning debut at Newbury over two miles last month. It was an impressive bow, beating a decent field headed by Nordic Combined by 1 ½ lengths. The early promise was there for all to see; however, it wasn’t enough to convince us the six-year-old should be favourite for this race. If he’s going to double up and win again, we’d much rather let him do it and oppose with a decent horse carrying a nice price.