IT’S jumping all the way on ITV Saturday with seven races being shown from Warwick and Kempton and plenty of Cheltenham clues.
Let’s get straight into the action, and the 1.50pm at Warwick is a Listed novices’ chase over 3m.
There’s only four runners but it’s competitive with Ok Corral and Rocky’s Treasure battling for favouritism. Ok Corral has huge potential and while ROCKY’S TREASURE has to give weight away, I’m going with the latter for trainer Kim Bailey.
He will set them a test and might just force Ok Corral into jumping errors. With a clear round the Nicky Henderson beast will be hard to beat though.
Next up at Warwick is the 2.25pm, a Grade 2 novices’ hurdle over 2m5f. It’s not going to be easy for ROCKPOINT to give 5lb away but he is selected in similar vein to Rocky’s Treasure. A strong stayer at this trip, Rockpoint is sure to make the others pull out all the stops now he’s up in grade for Colin Tizzard after a good success at Cheltenham last time.
The 3.00pm at Warwick is a handicap chase over 3m5f. Stamina will be key, and I like the look of STEP BACK each-way who was a brilliant winner for the Mark Bradstock stable towards the end of last season at Sandown. He will have needed his comeback run when seventh to the Young Master at Chepstow and has a good, prominent, running style for this track.
And finally at Warwick, the 3.35pm is a handicap hurdle over 3m 1f. KEEPER HILL finally returned to a bit of form at Cheltenham last time for Warren Greatrex when second to Aaron Lad and has every chance of scoring here. He has gone up 3lb for that effort, but 5lb claimer Harry Teal rides. For me it’s not the weight but more Keeper Hill’s mind that is crucial.
Over at Kempton, meanwhile, the 2.05pm is a Listed chase over an extended 2m 4f.
Charbel has been a revelation this season after a back operation, but a peak form TOP NOTCH will be hard to beat for Henderson. He ran a fine comeback race over hurdles at Ascot when prepping to go chasing.
The 2.40pm at the Surrey track is a big betting heat, the Lanzarote handicap hurdle over 2m 5f. Nicky Henderson’s novice DOUX PRETENDER drops in trip for this off a mark of 134 and might take some stopping. He’s hung a bit in his races, but has still managed to perform with credit and appears to be improving.
Will support him each-way.
And finally at Kempton the 3.15pm, a handicap chase over 3m. BALLYKAN has good Kempton form and while he’s handicapped to the hilt, this is not the most competitive race.
A defeat at Fakenham last time was frustrating, but hopefully he will prove good enough for Nigel Twiston-Davies.
So best of luck and hope for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?