Racing UK

How To Bet Your £20 on Saturday: Get lucky with 14-1 Veinard

Saturday 11 February 2017

By Andy Stephens

The past ten winners of the Betfair Hurdle have been aged either five or six and if you think younger legs will again prevail on Saturday you can quickly scrub out half of the 16-runner field.

Ballyandy and Movewiththetimes are the shortest-priced runners among the younger brigade with Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of Ballyandy, declaring that the rating of 135 allotted to his principal challenger represents a “gift” from the handicapper.

The formbook suggests otherwise and I have a hunch we will not see the best of last season’s Champion Bumper winner until he tackles three miles and, possibly, fences.

William H Bonney, 9-1 with Sky Bet, is the one who interests me most among the junior members of the line up.

He looked very much on the upgrade when travelling strongly and winning in good style on tacky ground at Cheltenham a couple of weeks ago, when his narrow winning margin did not reflect his superiority.

Alan King, his in-form trainer, told Racing UK on Wednesday that he would ideally have liked another week between the races but that Cheltenham contest has proved a good pointer in the past, with Landing Light and Copeland doing the “double” since 2001 and Heathcote using it as a stepping-stone before his success in 2007.

I will be having an interest in William H Bonney (Billy The Kid to his friends!) but my main fancy is the Gordon Elliott-trained Veinard, who tanks along in his races and looks well worth a punt at the generally available 14-1.

The lightly raced eight-year-old had a mark of just 107 this time last year when trained by Robert Bewley but has been transformed since moving to Elliott - his two efforts in similarly hot 2m handicap hurdles since Christmas suggest it is only a matter of time before he lands one.

In a 20-runner contest at Leopardstown, in late December, he was collared close home by the gambled-on That’s A Wrap, who got an inspired ride by Ruby Walsh, and then last time he was beaten under three lengths in the Hurdle (what used to be called The Ladbroke) at the same track.

The form of the latter race is tremendously solid and I am not sure it got to the bottom of Veinard, either, as he again impressed with the way he moved into contention from rear. The leaders simply did not come back that day.

Five of the past 19 Betfair Hurdle winners finished in the first six in Ireland's hottest handicap hurdle and I think we can forgive the fact that Veinard was seventh (a neck behind the sixth), given they finished in a huddle.

Some have marked him down as a bridle merchant but, for the time being, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt to a horse whose French name translates as Lucky.

Incidentally, Veinard will provide Jack Kennedy with his first success on British shores if he is successful. The rising star of the Irish scene is only 17 but he has already won a series of big prizes for Elliott and he came within a nose of landing the Fighting Fifth Hurdle aboard Apple’s Jade earlier in the season.

Take a quick scroll down his Twitter feed at @jackkennedy15 and you will be able to view one of the best recoveries on a horse (Bilko) you are ever likely to see. He is a rare talent and, regardless of what happens on Saturday, the teenager is one to keep a close eye on at Cheltenham next month.  

Newbury’s chief supporting races have drawn small fields that do not make for great betting mediums but that does not make them any less interesting.

Native River has delighted Team Tizzard with his preparation and I’m surprised he is as big as Evens to beat Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Denman Chase (2.25). The latter put up by far the best performance of his career at Haydock last time but he clearly has a soft spot for that track and, just three weeks later, I wonder if he will bounce.

I’m in in no hurry to oppose Altior in the Betfair Exchange Chase (3.00), even though to judge by official ratings he is short enough at 4-7 to beat smart opposition.

Twiston-Davies, the trainer of Bristol de Mai, has landed the Betfair Cash Out Handicap Hurdle (1.50) the past two times he had a runner in the race (at 8-1 and 11-1) and he has another likely contender this time in Scotchtown.

The strapping chestnut, from the family of Lady Rebecca, was having only his fourth start over hurdles when a length and a half second to the prolific Tobefair, who he meets again, over 3m2f at Warwick last time.

He went through most of the second half of the race much better than the winner and might well have repelled him had he not got got sucked into something of a speed duel a fair way from home.

Much to his credit, the fluent jumping Scotchtown rallied gamely once headed - he is already on my shortlist for next season’s 4m National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham - and he would have finished even closer had the winner, who was completing a six-timer, not carried him left after two out.

This more galloping track should play more to his strengths and, 3lb better off, he can turn the tables and deliver at a general 7-2.

At Warwick, front-running Gino Trail looks the one to beat in the Betway Kingmaker Novices' Chase (2.40).

A typical Kerry Lee improver, he made a gallant attempt to concede 6lb to Buveur D’Air over course and distance on New Year’s Eve and would have probably gone one better at Hereford 12 days later, at the expense of the useful Zamdy Man, who was also receiving weight, had he not fluffed the last.

Given a break since, Gino Trail can deservedly get back to winning ways. He is also declared at Newbury but Warwick is his first preference.

How To Bet Your £20 on Saturday


1.50 Newbury: Scotchtown £3 win at 7-2 generally available

3.35 Newbury: £5 win on Veinard at a general 14-1 plus £4 each-way on same horse

3.35 Newbury: £2 each-way on William H Bonney at 9-1 with Sky Bet


1.50 Newbury: £2.50 win on Scotchtown at 7-2 generally available

3.35 Newbury: £2.50 win on Veinard at a general 14-1

Plus a

£1 Win Lucky 15 (general odds in brackets)

1.50 Newbury: Scotchtown (7-2)

2.25 Newbury: Native River (Evens)

2.40 Warwick: Gino Trail

3.35 Newbury: Veinard (14-1)

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