Newbury Expert Eye: Three handicappers to back on Thursday November 4

Newbury's jumps card comes under the scrutiny of Planet Sport experts, with three handicappers flagged up as potential bets at good prices.

You can scroll down the page for the reasons behind today's selections, or just click on the horse's names below to head straight to Planet Sport Bet and place your bets.

Selections:

Hope You Do (12.20 Newbury)

Spiritofthegames (2.30 Newbury)

Chef D'Equipe (3.05 Newbury)

Course characteristics

Left-handed, almost flat, roughly 1m7f with 4 1/2f run-in. Races on round mile and over 7f60y start on chute. Straight mile has minor undulations.

Top trainers with runners

Nicky Henderson, who trains nearby in Upper Lambourn, has sent out 49 winners from 198 runners (25%) over the last five seasons, and he has four chances this afternoon: Broomfield Burg (12.55), Ahorsewithnoname (2.00), Lust For Glory (3.05) and Clean Getaway (3.40).

Paul Nicholls and Philip Hobbs are next in the table with 26 and 18 winners respectively. Backing all three of the top trainers runners blind here would have resulted in healthy profits to level-stakes.

Top jockeys with rides

Nico de Boinville, who rides predominantly for Henderson, has booted home 32 winners here over the same period, those coming at a strike rate of 25%.

He's clearly a jockey to follow here and Broomfield Burg, who is odds-on for the opening novices' hurdle, should get him off to a flyer.

Jockey Nico de Boinville has a good record at Newbury

12.20 Newbury - Hope You Do

Paul Nicholls' Siroco Jo is sure to be popular for the opening 2m handicap hurdle for conditional jockeys, and that his sole success over hurdles so far came over today's track and trip in March entitles him to maximum respect.

However, he didn't back that success up when reappearing at Ascot later in the same month, finishing well beaten off the same mark as today's, and preference is for the Philip Hobbs-trained bottom weight Hope You Do, who is potentially very well treated on a perch of 107.

Formerly trained in France where he won a maiden on his debut, he's had just three runs over hurdles since and the last two of those were full of promise, with a third-placed effort on his most recent outing at Chepstow in April the best of the lot.

He wasn't given a hard time by any means once it was clear he wasn't going to win, yet still finished 19 lengths clear of the third, giving the impression he was a work in progress and would do better once handicapping.

A slight concern perhaps is the form of his stable, with just three winners to show from the last 23 runners, but most of the beaten horses were easy to back and the selection is clearly fancied.

Trainer Philip Hobbs could be amongst the winners at Newbury

Sean Houlihan, who is 2-7 on the stable runners in the current season, will do the steering this afternoon.

2.30 Newbury - Spiritofthegames

Dan Skelton's nine-year-old is better known these days as a chaser and while he doesn't win often in that sphere, he has proved ultra consistent in competitive handicap chases at Cheltenham in particular - form figures of 33P2262 in such races.

Indeed, his second in last season's Paddy Power Cup was a career-best effort and that race (due to be run a week on Saturday) is again on his agenda. Given his record, there are plenty worse each-way chances at the current 22/1 with Planet Sport Bet.

So why should we consider backing him for this competitive Pertemps Hurdle qualifier, you may wonder?

Well, he was certainly no slouch over the smaller obstacles, with stacks of top handicap hurdle form in the bigger races on his CV, including a fine third of the 24 runners in the 2018 Betfair Hurdle.

He was running off a mark of 139 that day, the same as today's, and that's 5lb lower than his current chase rating.

It's just whether he can take advantage on his first run back and his record fresh - form figures of 11113P2 after breaks of 57 days or more - suggests he might, while a wind op since he was last seen out at Aintree in April is more likely to help than hinder him.

Should he win today under Harry Skelton, he'll head to Cheltenham full of confidence and, crucially, his current chase mark will be left intact, which surely won't have been lost on his connections.

One For You, who represents Philip Hobbs, responsible for two of our selections (Sod's Law he wins with this one!), is greatly feared off bottom weight and on his bid for a hat-trick after a couple of wins in the spring.

3.05 Newbury - Chef D'Equipe

There's not quite the same level of confidence behind the Philip Hobbs-trained Chef D'Equipe, another nine-year-old reappearing after wind surgery, but he's certainly not without a chance in what is a wide open 2m4f handicap chase.

This sort of trip on good ground is exactly what he needs to show his best and while he's not been the most consistent of horses in the past (been called a few names, no doubt), two of his best efforts over fences have come at this flat track.

They include a fine second behind Siruh Du Lac on his reappearance here in November 2018, when he was giving that talented chaser 7lb, and he can line up today off a 7lb lower mark, with his more than capable owner / amateur rider David Maxwell claiming 3lb off his back for good measure.

Maxwell, who has a fine 24% (22-91) strike rate for the stable over the past five seasons, with all his rides producing a £17.63 profit to £1 level-stakes, knows how to get the best out of the gelding and, at the odds, it's worth chancing he's on a going day.

His stablemate Smarty Wild, who doesn't always impress with his jumping but is capable when he puts in a clear round, and last-time-out winner Buster Thomas appeal most of those at the head of the betting.

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