WOW! What a week of Festive racing and the fun continues Saturday with ITV showing eight races from both Newbury and Doncaster.
Once again we get straight into it, and the 13:50 at Newbury is a handicap hurdle over an extended 2m4f. A drop in trip could be key for Dragon D’Estruval, who had every chance at this track two out last time but failed to get home over 3m. Nicky Henderson has every chance of taking this with Daryl Jacob.
Next is a handicap chase over 3m2f at 14:25. Reikers Island travelled and jumped really well when scoring at Wincanton last time and can follow up for the master Philip Hobbs. It won’t be easy with 12st, but having Richard Johnson on board is a bonus.
One of the big races of the day is at 15:00, namely the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle over an extended 2m4f. Champ is on a four-timer for Henderson and will be hard to stop. He was hugely impressive at this track last time and off a mark of 150, is definitely the one to beat.
And finally at Newbury, the 15:35 is a handicap chase over an extended 2m6f. Polydora is up in the weights now and this will be tougher than at Newcastle last time. However, he’s in great form for Tom Lacey, will jump for fun out front and may be hard to catch.
Meanwhile, over at Doncaster the 13:30 is a handicap chase over 3m. Kim Bailey is having a great season and his Station Master should go well. He was a good second to a well handicapped The Young Master last time and runs off the same mark here. Stays strong this one!
Next is the 14:05, a Listed Mares’ Chase over an extended 2m4f. Lady Buttons should get a hat-trick up for Philip Kirby. She has a decent rating and has been good at both Wetherby and Newbury this season. Jockey Adam Nicol hasn’t had a runner for two weeks – fingers crossed this is the Xmas cash!
At 14.40 is a novices’ limited handicap chase over an extended 2m. A nasty betting heat despite only four runners. I will go with recent winner Bollywood for Alan King, but with no great confidence. At least he appears in good shape.
And finally at 15:15 a handicap hurdle over an extended 3m. I might be crazy, but will take a chance with old boy Ballybroker Breeze whose jumping has gone to pot over fences. However, back over hurdles he stays well and is on a winnable mark off 134. Who knows if he retains his ability – but I’ll take the chance for Nicky Richards.
So best of luck and pray for festive Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?