A huge day on ITV4 Saturday with seven races from Newbury and Warwick including some of the best horses in the land.
Let’s get straight to it, and the 13.50pm at Newbury is a handicap hurdle over 3m. ONE FOR THE TEAM has run really well on his last two starts at Warwick and this track and should get his due reward for consistency. Trained by Nick Williams, my hope stays strong and should be very hard to keep out the frame at the very least.
Next at Newbury is the14.25, a Grade 2 Champion Chase prep over an extended 2m. All eyes on ALTIOR here, who really should take the world of beating. He would be a much shorter price than he is if coming into this in his best form, and while a layoff has been a worry surely he will just hack up for Nicky Henderson.
The 15.00 at Newbury is the Grade 2 Denman Chase, a Gold Cup trial over nearly 3m. I have already put up NATIVE RIVER for the Gold Cup at 25-1 and he should bolt up here as his final prep for the big race. There is nothing in this field that can touch him, so he should give new partner Jonjo O’Neill Jr a fabulous spin.
Colin Tizzard’s former Cheltenham hero remains a very talented performer.
Finally at Newbury the 15.35pm is the big betting race of the day, a Grade 3 handicap hurdle over an extended 2m. CIEL DE NEIGE has never won a race and was beaten at 1-4 last time for Ireland’s Champion trainer Willie Mullins which hardly inspires, but I have a feeling he could prove well handicapped for the Irish maestro.
I suspect a big field and strong gallop is exactly what this French import wants, and Aidan Coleman is a decent jockey booking. I will back him each-way in a race where Paddy is paying the first 6 homes.
Meanwhile, over at Warwick the ITV4 coverage starts with the 14.05, a Grade 2 novices’ chase over 2m. Nube Negra is the one to beat, but I like the look of ROUGE VIF at a slightly bigger price.
My hope is having his second run after a wind operation and his first with a tongue tie. If that all helps the Harry Whittington challenger he might run above his current rating and his effort behind Global Citizen last time was a good one.
The 14.40 at Warwick is a Listed mares’ hurdle over 2m 5f. A tough heat and we all have to hope all eight turn up to get the three places as I’m having a few quid each-way on COPPER GONE WEST. She won well at Doncaster, but then wasn’t quite good enough at Sandown last time.
She has a rating which suggests she should be in the mix for Tim Vaughan and Alan Johns who are having a fine season.
We sign off at Warwick with a handicap chase over 2m 4f at 15.15 with another eight declared. The one I want to be with is BELAMI DES PICTONS, who is wearing cheekpieces for the first time after failing to get home over 3m last time and finishing well beaten at Kempton.
He is better than that for Venetia Williams and has come down the handicap a few pounds.
So best of luck. You hear me Paddy?