Fighting Fifth Hurdle Ante-Post

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Fighting Fifth Hurdle Tips

Next Saturday we have the centrepiece of the action at Newcastle, the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, where last year’s winner Epatante will be bidding to become a dual winner of the event for trainer Nicky Henderson. He has won three of the last four renewals, courtesy of Buveur D’Air winning it in 2017 and 2018 before he was stopped in his hat-trick bid when Cornerstone Lad caused a huge surprise at massive odds a year later.

Nicky Henderson’s mare claimed an effortless victory in the Grade One affair last year but she has failed to win in three subsequent starts and will ultimately need to be back to her brilliant best in order to get the better of this year’s possible participants. The list of dangers include an Irish presence of impressive Naas winner Teahupoo and Aintree Hurdle hero Abacadabras.

I think last year’s winner is plenty short-enough in the betting and preference is for MONMIRAL (best price 11-4) who burst onto the scene as being one of Paul Nicholls’ most exciting and talented youngsters last season in which he went from strength-to-strength having gone unbeaten in four outings last term, including when returning a commanding winner of the Grade One Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at the Grand National meeting. That form was strongly advertised over the weekend as the runner-up, Adagio, ran a huge race to finish second off top-weight in the Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.

Paul Nicholls last won this race with two-time winner Irving in 2016, who’d also won the 2014 version. Other entries include County Hurdle winner Belfast Banter, Alan King’s Sceau Royal and Soaring Glory who won the Betfair Hurdle last season, just to add an extra spice to the event. The latter would be of some interest at a big price but trainer Jonjo O’Neill is currently leaning towards Newbury the same weekend. That said, the Paul Nicholls-trained, Monmiral, who also features in my Tote Ten to Follow squad, will be looking to fly the flag for the younger generation and he looks a perfect project for this race at the forecast odds.

Monmiral - 1pt @ 11/4