It should be considerably drier at Warwick on Saturday than it usually is at this time of year and that could suit Ok Corral in the 1.50pm. Top Irish amateur Derek O’Connor goes over to ride and it looks like connections could have one eye on the 4m Amateur Chase at Cheltenham with that jockey booking.
There’s a small enough field for the Classic Handicap Chase over 3m 5f at 3pm.
Warwick generally plays to the strengths of good jumpers and I like the look of Ultragold each-way at a double-digit price for the Colin Tizzard & Richard Johnson combination.
Waiting Patiently hasn’t made it to Kempton for the Listed Chase (2.05pm) over 2m 4f so it looks like a match with Charbel and Top Notch.
It’s a tough race to call and both could find themselves in opposition again in the Ryanair Chase at the Festival. Whatever about Saturday, I’d prefer Top Notch at Cheltenham.
There’s relatively small but select fields at Fairyhouse and it looks very competitive.
Paul Townend rides Great White Shark who makes her debut for us. She jumps well and has improved at home in her work and schooling through December and January.
We’re hopeful she won’t be too far away.
I’m aboard La Sorelita who should improve for her fourth-placed finish to Rocky Blue at Leopardstown.
However, Gardens of Babylon and Surin were first and second in a good-looking maiden hurdle at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve.
Surin is a little better off at the weights, but if Gardens of Babylon’s jumping has improved, he can come out on top again.
I’ve no ride in this, but Paul Townend rides Brosna George for Arthur Moore, who is looking to follow up his win at this track in mid-December. He looked good that day over 2m 7f and the step up in trip to 3m could bring out further improvement.
He can win again.
This could go to one of the novices in Duca De Thaix, Cubomania or Kildorrery. It’s hard to assess them and even though they lack experience – there’s only 10 runners in the field.
The three are unexposed and could still be ahead of the handicapper. I ride Kildorrery for my dad, Ted, who has been consistent, finishing 1-4-2 in his last three runs – all at Punchestown.
He’s a nice racing weight of 10-4 so I’m hoping he’s in with a shout.
We keep saying that if Blazer reproduces his Galway Hurdle form, he’ll be hard to beat. At least this handicap chase is over 2m 1f so he’ll have no problem with the trip as he just didn’t stay 3m in the Paddy Power Chase last time, but still finished a creditable sixth.
Patrick Mullins rides Duca Di Milano for Pat Fahy. I don’t know much about Duca Di Milano but Pat’s horses are running well and that always a good sign.