iBet: Each Way Value For The Fighting Fifth Hurdle

Gareth Purnell

Stan James Fighting Fifth, Sat, 20.5pm, Newcastle

Back Cockney Sparrow each way at 14-1

Any race where the favourites are around 7/1 is obviously wide open, but it’s interesting to note that nine of the last 10 winners of the Stan James Hennessy Gold Cup started at 10/1 or less and that seven of the last 10 had already won at Newbury. Lake Windermere (8/1) has been heavily backed but carries a lot of weight. Paul Nicholls’ Rocky Creek goes off the 7/1 favourite.

The trainer says is fit enough and his rating of 151 looks spot on. But he’s not got experience of the course and the trainer’s horses have tended to need a run. Nicky Henderson has saddled two winners of the race, including last year’s victor Bob’s Worth who went on to land the biggest prize in jump racing, the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The champion jumps trainer’s horses are not yet firing but his mount this year is Hadrian’s Approach looks the type to improve for going three miles. The race looks best watched. Henderson has a much clearer chance in the Stan James Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, where he saddles odds-on favourite My Tent Or Yours.

The JP McManus-owned six-year-old clearly has an outstanding chance – he had a brilliant campaign last season culminating in a second in a high class Supreme Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham. However, Henderson’s record in the Fighting Fifth is not so good – his last three assaults with Binocular resulted in a beaten favourite each time and with the horse having to travel to the racecourse the night before for the first time, and the trainer describing My Tent Or Yours on Wednesday only as ‘pretty straight’, it’s very hard to be persuaded to jump in at the best available odds of 8/11.

Of course he could easily win and probably will, but My Tent Or Yours skews the market so much that the third favourite can be backed at 10/1, and this looks a classic race for looking at each way value. I quite like the profile of Cockney Sparrow, who can be backed at 14-1 with Boylesports and Paddy Power. John Quinn’s filly won three times over hurdles last winter and looked very good over jumps at Wetherby recently when she won easily. The form has been franked – third placed Alasi won a handicap chase at Ascot at the weekend, and Doyly Carte, who was fifth to Cockney Sparrow at Wetherby, was just beaten at Haydock. Cockney Sparrow must improve, but looks the value each way punt in the race as a third place would secure a nice profit.


Andy Murray is a shoe-in for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The best price you will get is 1/19 on and he’s 1/50 in places. The market without the favourite is more interesting, with Mo Farah the 5/6 favourite (SkyBet), Chris Froome is 4/1, with Boylepsorts reporting plenty of money for former winner AP McCoy at 4/1.


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