The markets have been reviewed, and today's three Follow The Money selections come from the meetings at Newbury and Newcastle...
We start our day at Newcastle with the 13:05 class Novice Hurdle catching the eye. Definitly Red has been a positive in our market having been well backed from 2.747/4 in to 2.26/5 on this his debut over hurdles.
Three wins from four in Bumpers, the loss being a creditable seventh in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. His first run this season was also encouraging in the Open meeting, again at Cheltenham, in which he gave the entire field four lb's and a five length beating. Our selection looks made for hurdles with the going and trip expected to suit, so a back has to be the call.
Our lay of the day comes in Newcastle's feature race, the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle over 2m due off at 14:05. Paul Nicholls' fine form has swept him to the top of the trainer's table already this season but he has never landed this race before. This must be one of the few top class races missing from his CV, having won 99 Grade ones in an extraordinary training career. He has dispatched his classy hurdler Irving to land the century today, but the market response has so far been cold with Irving drifting like a barge from an early 2.021/1 out to 2.526/4.
Sent off favourite for the Supreme at the Cheltenham Festival with an unbeaten record as a novice, he was firmly put in his place finishing a disappointing ninth. His first start this season following a wind op looked to be a winning one on his return at Wincanton before a crashing fall at the last. It remains to be seen how much that fall has dented his confidence and even at his best this race is no gimme. Master Irish trainer Willie Mullins has sent over the more than capable Arctic Fire and Aurore Destruval has been well backed and has the advantage of a 7lb Mares allowance. All in all a lay is the call with our punters still swerving Irving.
We go to Newbury for our final back of the day in the annual highlight that is the Hennessy Gold Cup Chase over an extended 3m 2f. Races such as this bring out layers and backers in great numbers ensuring that even early on the market has a very solid feel to it, with money queuing up on both the back and lay sides. That usually indicates that there will be very few huge market moves and today is no exception. That, of course, does mean that the market moves that are registered can be trusted slightly more than those in a market that is still in its early stages.
So having scanned the market, we can report that current favourite Djakadam is weak, and has drifted a full point from 5.85/1 out to 6.86/1. Our shout for the big race is The Druids Nephew, who ran a stormer last time out at Cheltenham over 3m 3f when finishing second to Sam Winner. He runs off the same handicap mark today and is due to go up 6lb's later so is effectively 'well in' at the weights, has an eye-catching jockey booking in Davy Russell and will relish the soft going. A big run looks on the cards and the market move from 12.5 in to 10.519/2 is encouraging.
Back Definitly Red @ 2.26/5 13:05 Newcastle
Lay Irving @ 2.526/4 14:05 Newcastle
Back The Druids Nephew @ 10.519/2 15:00 Newbury
Follow The Money 2014 P/L
P/L: + 33.34pts (before commission)
Correct up until the end of October, based on prices at time of publication