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Newbury best bet (1535): Harry Cobden’s champion jockey bid continues on Toss Of A Coin

Only six runners line up for this novices’ hurdle, and if the bookies have done their sums right, then only two should be contesting the final stages of this challenging two-and-a-half-mile trip.

15:35 Newbury: Download The BetVictor App NH Novices’ Hurdle (2 miles 4½ furlongs)

It’s easy to discount the bottom three in the market, although the increasingly testing conditions could level the playing field a little for the likes of An Cailin Ciuin, whose useful seven-pound mares allowance could give Brendan Powell something to work with on the six-year-old’s first outing for new trainer Henrietta Knight.

A greater argument could be made for Ben Pauling’s Amarillobymorning, but he is likely to require an outstanding first outing under Rules to beat or even split the two market principals, Ballybentragh and Toss Of A Coin, both of whom arrive off the back of hurdle debut successes.

Ballybentragh was able to overcome a bad error two out to win by a couple of lengths on heavy ground at Sandown at the end of January, but despite looking like he had plenty in hand at the line, the extra half-mile here in worsening conditions will be a much stiffer test.

Planet Sport Bet Daily Special: Bet £20+ cash on any runner in the race and if Ballybentragh wins by more than 10 lengths, get a £5 Free Bet

That appears to tip the balance in favour of the Paul Nicholls-trained Toss Of A Coin, whose point-to-point successes earned him a €150,000 price tag, which he promptly justified when landing the odds in a seven-runner novice at Exeter in mid-December.

Nicholls has won this race twice in the last three years, and appears to have pencilled this six-year-old as having the scope to improve further and extend that successful sequence.

Harry Cobden takes the reins again, and Planet Sport Bet’s racing ambassador won’t be short of confidence after taking all of his last four rides into the winner’s enclosure, with two of Thursday’s Taunton hat-trick coming from the Ditcheat yard.

Cobden has now surged nine wins clear of Sean Bowen in the race for the champion jockey crown, and will no doubt view this ride as a great chance to open that gap wider still.

Suggested best bet: Toss Of A Coin in the 15:35 at Newbury



READ MORE: Harry Cobden assesses his seven Saturday rides in his Planet Sport Bet blog

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