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A real mixed bag for ITV Racing on Saturday with nine jumps races coming from Newbury, Kelso and Doncaster. I’ve picked out my best five.
Newbury 13:50 – Umbrigado
I have long been a fan of David Pipe’s runner Umbrigado since putting him up for a handicap hurdle at Haydock in November when he got nearly beaten! He has since won a couple of times over fences at Fontwell and at Wetherby. He is reasonably handicapped and is only a seven-year-old so there could be improvement to come in a wide-open contest. Ground conditions are in his favour and he gets the vote.
You can make a strong case far a few of these and Killer Clown is definitely one of those. He was impressive at Kempton on Boxing Day beating Falco Blitz by seven lengths and ran really well in a race at Sandown behind Alnadam that has worked out well. Killer Clown has taken a 15lb rise since his win at Kempton and that is an anchor. Grand Sancy is another smart contender, but it will be tough for him to give weight to some of these.
14:05 Kelso – Mega Yeats
Mark Walford’s mare has had a wind operation and she had a nice run at Kempton on the all-weather in a bumper for jumpers. She also ran a nice race when she was last seen over hurdles at Cheltenham and her handicap mark is very workable.
I am a big fan of the trainer and there is a lot to like about Mega Yeats chance in this contest. Sebastopol is dangerous carrying top weight. He’s also had a wind operation and if that works he could be the main danger, some of his form is strong but he is just not consistent enough.
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14:40 Kelso – Aso
The Ladbroke Chase winner and Grand National fancy Cloth Cap races of a 12lb higher mark and you have to respect his chance with ground conditions seemingly ideal.
The problem is that he is 14lb worse off with Aso, due to the conditions of the race, than he would be if this were a handicap. So, for that reason I’ll give Aso the nod. I will be disappointed if he doesn’t turn the tables with Two for Gold. Venetia Williams’ charge may be an 11-year-old but some of his performances have been top-notch and this looks the perfect race for him to get back into the winners enclosure for the first time since New Year’s Day 2019.
14:55 Doncaster – Ballywood
Getaway Trump has been very disappointing over fence as he has always looked like chasing would be his game. He has struggled, but his handicap mark has dropped to a really attractive level because of that and he is bound to be really competitive now. However, Ballywood has won three of his 13 races over fences will love the ground. He ticks all the right boxes for Alan King and Highclere Racing.
15.15 Kelso – The Shunter
The Irish challenger represents the same yard that won at Kempton last weekend with Cape Gentleman and The Shunter is already a winner of the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham last November. He ran really well in a handicap chase at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown last month and now back over hurdles, has to be competitive for trainer Emmet Mullins off a mark only 7lb higher than his Greatwood Hurdle success. Paul Nicholls’ Christopher Wood is the danger while Hunters Call is not one to rule out lightly as being ridden ‘cold’ at this track will suit.
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