BetVictor Fighting Fifth Hurdle (Newcastle) Betting Tips & Predictions – Saturday 1st December 2018

The Ladbrokes Trophy may take the spotlight this coming weekend when it comes to the chasers, but there’s no doubt about where the pick of the hurdling action comes from, as Newcastle hosts what is a potentially sensational renewal of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. We don’t often get to see three Cheltenham Festival winners locking horns in this, but should the current field stand their ground, that’s just what we will have this year.

This really does look an enthralling renewal and truly a race to savour. Talented as the next generation appear to be though, we expect the established order from last season to be confirmed in this one.

Top Tips

Buveur d’Air to win @ 4/5

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

2m½f is the trip for this Grade 1 Hurdle contest, set to be run on soft ground this year and offering £110,000 in total prize money.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Soft 2m½f Grade 1 £110,000 7 Runners 1/4 1-2

Recent Winners

Currently tied for the all-time lead in the race amongst trainers with Fred Rimell, a win for Nicky Henderson this year will put him out in front on his own. Henderson sends defending champion, Buveur d’Air into battle this time around.

The stats would suggest we want one not too young but not too old here, with eight of the past 10 winners being between the ages of five and seven.

2017 Buveur d’Air 1/6 Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty
2016 Irving 6/1 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden
2015 Identity Thief 6/1 Henry De Bromhead Bryan Cooper
2014 Irving 6/4 Paul Nicholls Nick Schofield
2013 My Tent Or Yours 8/11 Nicky Henderson Tony McCoy

Analysis: Henderson Into The Record Books

Races such as this often look mouth-watering when the initial list of entries is announced, only to fall apart a little as the race approaches. That doesn’t seem to be the case this year though, with last season’s winners of the Champion Hurdle, Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle all looking set to stand their ground.

Buveur Best Again?

For those who use the ratings of the runners as their primary method of selection, assessment of this race will likely begin and end with last year’s winner, Buveur d’Air. 9lbs clear of the field in what is a level weights affair, if all of the runners perform up to the best form they have displayed to date, there should simply be only one winner. Unbeaten in his past 10 starts – including the two most recent editions of the Champion Hurdle itself – he won this at a canter 12 months ago and – still only seven years of age – will likely take some stopping once again.

Samcro To Reaffirm Superstar Status?

Buveur d’Air certainly won’t have things all his own way though, as lying in wait here is the horse long touted as the next big thing on the Irish racing scene, Gordon Elliott’s Samcro. With eight wins from his first eight starts, culminating in that Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle win at the Festival, all was going well for this son of Germany, with the manner of his victories really catching the eye.

Having fallen on his final start last season though and been surprisingly beaten first time out this term, he does however now arrive here with questions to answer. The soft ground will suit him well though and already a Grade 1 winner at the distance, he looks a major threat.

Summer To Strike In Winter

The aforementioned duo may take up much of the market, but it may prove unwise to dismiss the claims of the Tom George runner, Summerville Boy. This one put up one of the performances of the festival when landing the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last season. To batter the second last and very nearly come down, give the final fence a good clout, and still reel in a horse of the calibre of Kalashnikov was some performance. Connections of Kalashnikov clearly aren’t keen on taking him on again as that one now goes chasing, and he looks an intriguing contender.

Final Verdict: Buveur d’Air to win

Summerville Boy is a horse we like a lot, but he did take a while to come to the boil last season and to improve 13lbs and beat the champion hurdler first time up may just be too tall an order. We still just favour him over Samcro though who may be better over further and was way below par last time out.

The one to be on is the proven class in the race over this trip, Buveur d’Air. It likely won’t be anything like so effortless as his win in the race 12 months ago, but he is still fancied to come out on top.

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