The Fighting Fifth Hurdle is one of the best hurdle races we’ve seen all season. Samcro will give Buvuer D’Air a really good race of it and Summerville Boy could be a player too, if his jumping is that little bit slicker.
People say Newcastle is a ‘tight’ track but there’s three hurdles down a back straight that is over half a mile long, so you have to ‘stay’ to win a Fighting Fifth, there’s no doubt about that.
Gordon Elliott’s Samcro stays really well and he now has the fitness edge over his two main rivals.
If he has improved for his first run – which – he should – It could be his day on Saturday against non race-fit rivals in Buvuer D’Air and Summerville Boy.
Kemboy unfortunately didn’t get to Newbury for the Ladbroke Trophy and it’s going to be tough for Black Corton to lump top-weight to victory at Newbury on Saturday.
Elegant Escape looks to have a good chance and he finished ahead of Black Corton in the RSA Chase last season. It’s a big day for American and Aine O’Connor who was well fancied for the Ladbroke Trophy 3pm last year but flopped as the ground was too quick.
The UK’s champion jockey Richard Johnson seems very sweet on Thomas Patrick who finished second to Elegant Escape at Sandown and gets a few pounds off him now in the weights.
However, I’d be sweet on Ms Parfois who should benefit from The Young Master setting a strong pace up front.
She’s carrying 11st 1lb and has an outstanding chance.
Dolciano Dici has improved a good bit since his run at Navan a couple of weeks ago. He has his chance under Paul Townend and should appreciate the dryer ground and will certainly strip a lot fitter now, than he was. However, he’ll need to, as he’s up against Any Second Now and Flawless Escape
I ride Diamond Hill for Willie Mullins who is very experienced, but is probably well enough exposed now. I’m not sure if she’s classy enough for a contest like this at this time of year. Paul Townend rides Defy De Mee who was disappointing last season, but hopefully has improved through the summer months.
The real eye-catchers in the field could be Joseph O’Brien’s Lone Wolf and Gordon Elliott’s Column of Fire as they’ve both got strong bumper form.
Rich Richies’ Eclat Des Motttes stuck at it well at Downpatrick to win and will handle the ground.
He looks my best chance of a winner on Saturday.
This is effectively a novice handicap hurdle and Joseph O’Brien’s Jack Dillinger could be well enough treated as could stablemate Inca Gold who won at Gowran Park last week after a long lay-off.
Patrick Mullins rides Miss Shoe City who was fourth to Parkens Rock at Thurles on debut. She may have to improve though to be involved in this contest.