One of the true sayings in racing is that you are only as good as your last winner – but boy was it good to smash up the Paddy Power profits with a tasty double last weekend.
It felt wonderful. You hear me Paddy?
We are back to try and do it all again this weekend, with the weather playing a big part once again. But there’s still some tasty stuff with Newbury on Saturday (after the inspection at 7am) and Leopardstown to look forward to on Sunday.
Let’s get stuck into the big handicap hurdle at Newbury and with 22 runners and I’m putting two up against the field.
The first one I like here is DELL’ARCA (3.35). He was impressive on his British debut at Cheltenham and then was still cruising when being brought down at Ascot last time. He loves the mud, judged by his French form and could easily be well handicapped off 136. I’ll be gutted if he’s not in the frame – especially as Paddy is paying the first 5 home.
I am also going to have a few quid each-way on CHELTENIAN in the same race. He was once beaten a short head by Minella Forfitness who is now rated in the 140s. Philip Hobbs’ runner runs off a 134 rating so if he can finally make up for lost time he could be chucked in.
I really don’t fancy Al Ferof. While he’s clearly the best horse on form but not a strong stayer for me in the mud over 3m. So in the Denman Chase I will be with the mud-loving KATENKO (2.25pm) for Venetia Williams.
He ran well at Haydock on his most recent start and should put up a bold show. The ground could also be against Dodging Bullets in the Game Spirit Chase and he’ll have to win really well if he is to land the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham.
With the surface a question mark, a few quid on MODULE (3pm) is the way to go.
Just in case the turf is off at Newbury, I have had a peak at the action at Lingfield, where the feature is the 6f sprint.
All eyes will be on Perfect Pasture who just keeps winning. But NOBLE DEED (3.45pm) has a tasty draw and might just come home strongest of all after being pushed wide on the bend last time – and he’s a big price.
Cheltenham pointers at Leopardstown
I will be at Leopardstown on Sunday for a brilliant card with four Grade One races featuring the Irish Hennessy Gold Cup and all should have a big say in the Cheltenham Festival markets.
First Lieutenant heads the market for Mouse Morris while Ruby Walsh is reunited with 2012 Lexus winner Tiday Bay for Paul Nicholls. The Lieutenant was second to Tidal Bay that day and second again to Bobs Worth last Christmas and deserves to get his head in front in a big one.
The Deloitte Novices’ Hurdle (2.15pm) is the race I want to concentrate on as the THE TULLOW TANK is taking on Willie Mullins’ Vautour.
They’re both at the head of the Supreme Novices Hurdle market so something’s got to give on Sunday. The latter is held in high regard. But it is hard not to love four-time winner The Tullow Tank who has a good cruising speed but also battles when needed.
This is his biggest test but he will hopefully come through with flying colours. If you fancy either for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham on March 11 expect the winner on Sunday to shorten up.