The 2018 Challow Novices’ Hurdle betting tips from Horsebetting.com say Kateson is a real value bet to win the extended 2m 4f Grade 1 event at Newbury on Saturday, 29 December. Champ heads the betting and is another course and distance winner representing powerful connections, so is feared most. Alsa Mix, meanwhile, looks each-way value as the Alan King trained mare gets weight all-round because of a sex allowance. Read more about this fabulous feature contest in our detailed 2018 Challow Novices’ Hurdle betting tips below.Kateson big value for hurdles hat-trick in ChallowTom Lacey has a serious prospect on his hands in Kateson, who has improved for both of his outings over the obstacles so far, and he looks the value bet to land the hat-trick in the extended 2m 4f Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday (15:00). The five-year-old son of Black Sam Bellamy followed-up on a promising hurdles bow at Chepstow with a ready victory over course and distance earlier this month.
Kateson shaped reasonably well in bumpers, finishing a 3 1/4 lengths runner-up to Portrush Ted in a Grade 2 at the Aintree Grand National meeting on his fifth and final start in that sphere back in the spring. Although showing an awkward head carriage at times when switched to timber at Chepstow, he out-jumped the runner-up at the last to score by 3 1/2 lengths.
Course and distance winner
The front two pulled a further 13 lengths clear of the third and Kateson had his rivals strung out like washing. He then led after three out at Newbury and only had to be kept up to his work by Tom Scudamore to score by a cosy 1 3/4 lengths from Mr Pumblechook.
As the runner-up has come out and won since, and the front two again pulled 13 lengths and up clear of the remainder, that course and distance form looks rock solid. Kateson is clearly progressing with each outing and the stable are back in form on a 23 per cent strike rate in the last 14 days at the time of writing.
While the assessor’s opening mark of 141 suggests he has plenty to find on long-time favourite Champ, it may underestimate his ability as he’s got plenty more scope to improve. At the odds on offer, then, Kateson looks well worth a wager for the hat-trick and is thus the main selection in our 2018 Challow Novices’ Hurdle betting tips.Champ commands respectThe betting is headed by the JP McManus owned, Nicky Henderson trained Champ, who is three out of four over hurdles and comes out on top on official figures from those with a rating. This six-year-old son of King’s Theatre was beaten a neck by the undefeated Vinndication at Ascot in January on his bow in this sphere and not looked back since.
Champ was an easy 10 lengths winner at Perth in May after a break and followed-up by the same margin at Warwick before getting the summer off. He also demonstrated he acts on soft when back in action earlier this month over course and distance.
Third win on spin in handicap
Connections pitched Champ into handicap company off an opening mark of 139. He pulled his way through to the head of affairs at the fifth and made the rest, running out a comfortable 4 1/2 lengths from Le Musee. While what he beat was questionable, the assessor has raised Champ a further 11lb to 150
That has handicapped him out of many events, so pitching him into graded company makes sense. Given who owns and trains Champ, he is worthy of respect but plenty short enough and after four starts over hurdles is actually quite exposed.
It makes him and Grade 2 scorer Coolanly, who is in the same boat after five outings, look a poor price compared to the improving types in opposition. While Champ going in again would come as no surprise, the value lies in betting elsewhere and for that reason we are against him in these 2018 Challow Novices’ Hurdle betting tips.Alsa Mix a solid each-way alternativeBarbury Castle handler Alan King sends out unbeaten mare Alsa Mix against the geldings again following a Grade 2 success at Sandown last time out. She was underestimated in the market that day when stepping out of her sex to battle the boys for the first time, but remains a solid each-way bet on the upgrade again.
This six-year-old has won an Irish point, then a bumper and her hurdles bow at Exeter in fine style this year. Alsa Mix is versatile as regards ground having won on good and heavy already, so the forecast soft going holds no fears at all.
Connections pitched her into graded company for the Winter Novices’ Hurdle at the Esher venue last time out, and it was an inspired decision. After racing close-up, Alsa Mix came with effort to lead two out and was soon ridden clear through the mud to beat Darlac by 3 1/2 lengths.
She had her rivals well strung out and the runner-up avoids a rematch on exactly the same terms. That 7lb sex allowance puts Alsa Mix in with every chance of making the frame at least and, given she hasn’t lost yet, her claims of maintaining that undefeated record are considerable.
As this is the toughest assignment she’s faced yet, however, backing her each-way is advised. It’s Alsa Mix who thus rounds off our 2018 Challow Novices’ Hurdle betting tips with hitting the frame the minimum expected of her.Your Next Bet