Winter Novices’ Hurdle betting tips: Down The Highway Fancied to Follow-Up

The 2018 Winter Novices’ Hurdle betting tips given by Horsebetting.com experts say Down The Highway is fancied to confirm previous form in the 2m 4f Grade 2 feature contest at Sandown on Friday, 7 December for trainer Emma Lavelle. Mercy Mercy Me, meanwhile, is a course bumper winner and feared most if coming on for his last run. Alsa Mix gets weight all-round as a mare, so rates a good each-way bet in this 10-runner race. Read more about this key trial for the Ballymore at Cheltenham in our 2018 Winter Novices’ Hurdle betting tips preview.

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Odds
3/1
Selection
Down The Highway
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Odds
13/2
Danger
Mercy Mercy Me
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Odds
16/1
E/W
Alsa Mix
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Down The Highway a big hope for Lavelle in Winter at Sandown

Wiltshire trainer Emma Lavelle has her stable in good order, so Down The Highway appeals most to follow-up on a decisive victory on hurdles debut and land the 2m 4f Grade 2 Winter Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown on Friday (14:25). The five-year-old is an Irish point winner, who scored by six lengths in February before joining her current handler.

Down The Highway is by Duke Of Marmalade and a Sadler’s Wells mare and made winning bow for Lavelle last month in a class 3 contest at Lingfield. After tracking the leaders in the hands of Aidan Coleman, the gelding was produced to lead three out and in firm command approaching the penultimate flight.

He then profited from a mistake by his closest challenger at the last and drew away when shaken up to score by seven lengths. It was a very taking debut and left the impression there was plenty more to come from Down The Highway.

With just the sole hurdles start on his belt, he is one of a few on the upgrade in this that are very unexposed. Coleman again takes the ride, with Down The Highway’s jockey and trainer operating at an average of 20 per cent in the last 14 days at the time of writing.

As he’s open to any amount of further progress and clearly acts on the soft going, a bold bid to follow-up now stepped up in class looks on the cards. That’s why we put Down The Highway up as your best bet in these 2018 Winter Novices’ Hurdle betting tips.

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Mercy Mercy Me feared most

There are plenty with claims in an open-looking renewal, however. As the sole course winner in the 10-runner field, Mercy Mercy Me appeals more than most – despite having seven lengths to find on Down The Highway from last time out.

The Fergal O’Brien trained six-year-old won a 2m bumper here on his racecourse debut and took the minor honours in graded company at Cheltenham and Aintree. After finishing eighth and only beaten 9 1/2 lengths by Relegate in the Champion Bumper, Mercy Mercy Me followed-up on that with a 16 1/2 lengths seventh to Portrush Ted in the equivalent race at the Grand National meeting.

These consistent performances marked the Malcolm Denmark owned gelding out as one to keep an eye on when sent hurdling this season. Although three lengths down on his bow over the obstacles when stumbling at the final flight, the mistake put paid to Mercy Mercy Me laying down any sort of challenge to Down The Highway.

Paddy Brennan, who partnered him in all three bumper starts, is back on board and is still among the winners. Mercy Mercy Me will need to hurdle more fluently as this demands much more, but the back bumper form he brings to the table is the best on offer.

It also suggests he retains plenty of potential. A return to a winning venue is an obvious plus; so, if making the required improvement, Mercy Mercy Me should be well up to giving a better account of himself here and so also features among our 2018 Winter Novices’ Hurdle betting tips.

Alsa Mix an each-way bet for King

The top trainer in this key trial for the Ballymore and/or Albert Bartlett come the Cheltenham Festival of late is Alan King with four winners in the last decade. He is represented in this year’s renewal by Alsa Mix – a six-year-old mare who can make the most of a 7lb sex allowance and hit the frame at least.

After landing an Irish point by 10 lengths, she won a Worcester mares’ bumper in September by five lengths and was then sent hurdling. Having demonstrated the necessary foot to win a National Hunt Flat race over 2m, Alsa Mix was then stepped up in trip at Exeter last time out where she kept on well to remain unbeaten.

She raced in touch, then made headway three out and was ridden to chase the leader after the penultimate flight. Once Alsa Mix got over the last, she hit the front and kept on well to score by 2 3/4 lengths. Although taking on the geldings for the first time here, she receives weight all-round and that’s an obvious plus.

With a further step up in trip holding no fears, and Wayne Hutchinson back in the saddle, this French grey mare is not without claims of following in the hoofprints of some illustrious stable companions by landing this. That’s why Alsa Mix looks a great each-way bet and completes our 2018 Winter Novices’ Hurdle betting tips.

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