This weekend is realistically the last chance for connections with a Cheltenham possible to get a run into their big player, which means there are one or two big guns in action. However, finding a winner so we have cash to spend at Cheltenham is our mission. You hear me Paddy?
Let’s have a look at the Eider at Newcastle (2.55pm), which threw up Grand National hero Comply or Die a few years ago.
It goes without saying that you need a massive stayer for this 4m1f test, but even more so in the heavy conditions. Plodding is the key.
With that in mind I will be having a few quid on Smoking Aces (7/1), who plods well. He was a fair third to Emperor’s Choice at Ffos Las last time, over three and a half miles and was staying on at the finish. The extra trip here could be just what he wants, and he loves heavy going.
The big handicap at Kempton is at 3.50 – best known to you and me as the Racing Post Chase! Again 3m on soft ground at Kempton takes some getting, so stamina will be needed. The one I like is Ardkilly Witness (6/1), who ran well over a little further in heavy ground at Sandown last time. He had previously scored at Wincanton which is a similar type of track to Kempton. He seems to be in good form and has never fallen which is good news.
Away from the jumps handicaps, I like the look of Fox Appeal in the Pendil at Kempton (2.40). I think he is better than we saw at Doncaster last time and he might just outstay the likely favourite Balder Succes.
There are a couple of hot heats on the level at Lingfield, including the Listed Cleves Stakes at 1.45pm.
All sprints are run quickly, but this could be a real speed romp with plenty of front-runners and that could pave the way for closer Forest Edge to come flying through at the death. He was not beaten far at Wolverhampton last time and appears to still be in fine form.
Finally, the Winter Derby Trial is at 3.30pm, and on ratings Granduer should win easily, even though he has been off the track since Sha Tin in early December. He was a good winner of the Foundation Stakes at Goodwood in September, and while he faces some fit inform rivals he should be too good.
So best of luck as we look forward to another smashing weekend when we hope to smash the Paddy Power profits once again. Yeeehaaa!