Nicholashayne trainer David Pipe has a respectable 12-67 (18%) strike rate with his hurdlers at Newbury over the last five seasons, for a level stakes profit of 22.46, and Kalifourchon appears to have an excellent chance of improving that record in the Bet365.com Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (1.35) at Newbury on Thursday.
The Martaline gelding was still bang in contention when unseating his rider at Sandown last time and had previously been on an upward curve, so deserves a chance to make amends. He remains 8lb higher in the weights than when winning at Uttoxeter on his penultimate start, but is eased in grade, albeit slightly, and can win his fourth race from five starts under Tom Scudamore this season.
By contrast, Milborne Port trainer Colin Tizzard has a fairly dismal 2-33 (6%) strike rate with his steeplechasers at the Berkshire course, for a level stakes loss of 26.25 points. However, that fact alone shouldn’t count against Native River, who otherwise has plenty going for him in the Bet365 Novices’ Chase (2.10). Rated 145 over hurdles, the Indian River gelding has made an excellent start to his chasing career and can continue his progress.
Selections: Newbury 1.35 Kalifourchon, Newbury 2.35 Native River (win double)