The next big jumps Festival is Aintree and the Grand National in a fortnight, but there’s still plenty of decent racing this weekend with ITV showing Kelso and Newbury on Saturday.
Let’s get straight to it, and the 1.50pm at Kelso is a mares’ novices’ chase over 2m 5f. This is a very poor renewal with just four runners and while jumping is clearly an issue, the best horse is KUPATANA. However, the Paul Nicholls-trained hope has failed to complete in three of her last four starts so hard to be overly confident!
Next at Kelso is the 2.25pm, a handicap hurdle over 2m. Winston C is the improver in the field, but I’ll have a few quid each-way on CHAMPAGNE CITY for Tom George. My selection is well capable off his current mark and has been running consistently well.
The handicap chase over 3m 2f at Kelso at 3.00pm is the feature race on the card. SOME CHAOS is a strong stayer for Michael Scudamore and has been in great form. A recent defeat at Cheltenham can be forgiven and this could well be easier.
And finally at Kelso a handicap hurdle over 3m 2f at 3.35pm. WORTHY FARM, again for Nicholls, did really well at Ascot last time and this could be easier even though he is off a 7lb higher mark. An improver who will be a nice chaser one day.
Meanwhile, at Newbury the 2.05pm is a handicap chase over 3m 2f. A lot of out of form horses here and some of them would have every chance if regaining former glories. One in great shape, though, is CLASSIC BEN who should take a bit of stopping. He won well last time at Sandown -landing a gamble in the process.
On a day of handicaps, the 2.40pm at Newbury is a handicap hurdle over 2m 3f. Friend or Foe is the one to beat, but I’ll back ELYSEES each-way here for Alan King. He ran well in defeat at Doncaster recently and has had a spin on the Flat since at Wolverhampton.
And finally at Newbury a Grade 2 limited handicap novices’ hurdle over an extended 2m 4f at 3.15pm. I’ll hope for a good effort from ETAMINE DU COCHET for the excellent Skelton team. My selection has had a wind operation since last appearing and has been in reasonable form in any case.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
*Prices correct at time of publishing