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2020 Fighting Fifth Hurdle Tips - Can anyone take down Epatante at Newcastle?

  • We take a look through the field set to run in the 2020 Fighting Fifth Hurdle
  • This Grade One will be run at Newcastle on Saturday 28th November
  • Champion Hurdler Epatante will carry an odds-on price into the race
  • Sceau Royal, Silver Streak and Ribble Valley will also run
  • Cornerstone Lad will attempt to defend his crown
epatante kempton
Epatante (right) winning at Kempton last season. (Getty)

We take a look through the field set to run in the Grade One feature at Newcastle on Saturday and provide readers with our Fighting Fifth Hurdle tips.

The first Grade One Hurdle of the season will be run at Newcastle on Saturday afternoon, as a high-quality field contests the 2020 Fighting Fifth Hurdle. Eight entrants were confirmed at the 48-hour stage on Thursday, with Epatante dominating the current betting.

2020 Fighting Fifth Hurdle Odds


Name
Odds
Epatante4/7
Silver Streak9/2
Sceau Royal9/2
Ribble Valley8/1
Cornerstone Lad10/1
Bar20/1

*Odds taken from Betfair on 26/11/20*

2020 Fighting Fifth Hurdle Favourite

It's not hard to see why Epatante is so heavily fancied for the Fighting Fifth. Nicky Henderson's mare rose from handicapper to Champion Hurdler last season. She's the highest-rated horse in the field, and will be gaining seven-pounds from her male counterparts.

That being said, I think there are a couple of reasons not to back Epatante. The first is her price, which offers practically no value. Only two of the last ten Fighting Fifth favourites have won. Nicky Henderson has seen Buveur D'Air lose at 2/13. Binocular was the beaten favourite in 2009, 2010 and 2011, so even Henderson's Champion Hurdle winners aren't infallible.

Epatante's best form has come on slightly softer ground, she's never raced at Newcastle before, and she's in with several capable rivals who have race-fitness on their side. Some may call it madness, but I'm comfortable taking the favourite on at 4/7.

2020 Fighting Fifth Hurdle Runners

Cornerstone Lad was on hand to capitalise from Buveur D'Air's injury at the last to win this 12-months ago. Micky Hammond's star warmed up for the defence of his crown with a win on the flat at Redcar, but Cornerstone Lad loves juice in the ground, and he won't enjoy the good going this weekend.

Ribble Valley is another dangerous challenger who would prefer the ground to be much softer. I'm surprised to see Nicky Richards seven-year-old remain over hurdles this term, as he looks a big, strapping sort who would take well to fences. Brian Hughes' mount won a decent race on his reappearance, but conditions on Saturday won't suit.

Not So Sleepy should help ensure we have an honest early gallop, but I don't think he has the quality to contend in the closing stages. Solo Saxophone and Voix Du Reve are simply here to make up the numbers, and won't land a significant blow.

silver streak
Silver Streak powers to victory on his reappearance at Kempton. (Getty)

2020 Fighting Fifth Hurdle Tips

That leaves just two who have the potential to cause an upset. Both have run up to a strong level of form already this season. Both have previously run in this Grade One and good ground will be right up their street. 

Of the two, I'm favouring SILVER STREAK over Sceau Royal. Alan King's star has been really impressive since returning to hurdles this season and should run another solid race. I just feel Silver Streak has a little more improvement left in his locker and he'll feature amongst my betting tips.

As he did the previous year, Evan William's seven-year-old won the Listed Hurdle at Kempton on his October reappearance. This season, Silver Streak lowered Verdana Blue's colours, clocking a career-best RPR of 160 in the process.

Williams' grey was only beaten three lengths here 12 months ago, on heavy ground which had certainly gone against him. Silver Streak then finished second to Epatante in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, and was beaten much further in the Champion Hurdle. However, both of those races were run on genuinely soft ground.

When the word good has featured in the going description, Silver Streak has won seven of his 12 starts, placing second on four of the five occasions he has lost. Going left-handed is no both for him either, having won a Grade Three at Haydock and the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las.

Silver Streak does have a tendency to throw in a poor jump or two, and he will need a flawless round of jumping to beat Epatante. Still, I would much rather back Tom O'Brien's mount at 9/2, than the favourite at odds-on.
US

Verdict

This race hasn't been kind on favourites in recent years. The value bet against Epatante has to be Silver Streak, who looked as good as ever on his reappearance and will thrive on the good ground up at Newcastle. 


2020 Fighting Fifth Hurdle Tips: Silver Streak Straight Win @450.00 at BetMGM - 15 Units

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