Britain/Ireland Preview: Broomfield Burg looking good at Newbury
Cheltenham Festival preps continue in Britain and Ireland this weekend, albeit with nothing as grand as the Dublin Festival to watch for potential Prestbury Park winners.
The main races this weekend are at Newbury in England, where features include the Denman Chase (G2) over just short of three miles, the Game Spirit Chase (G2) for two-mile chasers, and the Betfair Hurdle (G3) over 2 1/16 miles.
Betfair Hurdle (G3) - Race 5 at Newbury
The best betting race is undoubtedly the Betfair Hurdle, which with a total purse of about $210,000 is the richest handicap hurdle race in Britain.
Fourteen are going to the post, and they include horses with useful form in Grade 1 and Grade 2 hurdles races such as #1 Soaring Glory, #6 Knappers Hill, #2 Tritonic, and #9 Jetoile.
However, the one to beat looks to be the highly progressive #8 Broomfield Burg. The son of Sageburg has run four times over hurdles for two wins and two seconds, and he was hugely impressive at Kempton Dec. 26, sauntering clear to win by 10 lengths. He quickened up very nicely in the stretch and took his hurdles well, and he is getting up to 13 pounds from some of his more highly-rated opponents.
Soaring Glory won this well last year and at his most recent start was third to top English mare Epatante, so he looks set to go well again. Jetoile, second to boom horse Jonbon at his last start, also looks set to run well, as does #11 Jpr One, an impressive winner at Taunton Jan. 10.
- $10 win/$30 show: #8 Broomfield Burg
- $1 exacta: 8 with 1, 2, 6, 9, 11
- $1 exacta: 1, 2, 6, 9, 11 with 8
Denman Chase (G2) - Race 3 at Newbury
The Denman Chase has only five runners but it looks surprisingly competitive, with two of Britain’s better staying chasers in #1 Clan Des Obeaux and #4 Royale Pagaille.
Clan Des Obeaux has won the prestigious King George VI Chase (G1) twice and was second this season behind Tornado Flyer. He has found the Cheltenham Gold Cup (G1) too tough on two previous occasions and is more likely to be aimed at the Aintree Festival in April.
Given that he is unlikely to be heading to Cheltenham this year, Clan Des Obeaux may be more tuned for this race than recent Peter Marsh H. (G2) winner Royale Pagaille, who is Gold Cup-bound. But Clan Des Obeaux was surprisingly beaten in this race last year, and with the Paul Nicholls team in a bit of a form lull, it’s worth looking at Royale Pagaille here.
- $20 win: #4 Royale Pagaille.
BONUS PLAY – IRELAND
Naas, Race 5, Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle
- $10 win/$20 show: #6 Whiskey Lullaby: Won well at Punchestown Jan. 16. Leading trainer Willie Mullins knows where to put his horses to best advantage, and she should go well in this 24-horse handicap.