A big weekend with Grade 1 action and the Hennessy in the UK and I’m all set to take Paddy to the cleaners – and no Paddy, not to try and clean those horrific red trousers you wore at the Open meeting at Cheltenham recently.
Let’s get straight into it. The 1.50pm at Newbury is an extended 2m2f handicap hurdle, and the one I like is SIR IVAN each-way. He ran a perfectly reasonable comeback recently off a 3lb lower mark and there is every chance a hood for the first time will perk him up. Good luck to Harry Fry, who needs a pick-me-up after retiring Rock on Ruby.
It’s the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury at 2.25pm, and I’m all over WHISPER, who was behind Cole Harden at Cheltenham last season. The selection is a year older, but might just have more improvement for Nicky Henderson.
The big handicap, the Hennessy, is at 3.00pm and the weights are headed by class act Saphir du Rheu who could easily be good enough. I will back SMAD PLACE each-way. Alan King’s hope was well capable off this mark over hurdles, and has proved he stays over fences. Wish him well!
Finally at Newbury there’s a decent handicap chase at 3.35pm. In another each-way race I will hope this is the chance for PEARLS LEGEND to run well again. He was in cracking form for John Spearing at Cheltenham last time, and this might be easier.
Over at Newcastle it’s the Fighting Fifth at 2.05pm, and the one thing we know is the Champion Hurdle winner is not in the line-up!
Lump on IRVING, who is just getting better and better this season and was a cosy winner from Top Notch when we last saw them at Haydock. I think he can confirm the form, and also defeat Irish raider Wicklow Brave.
Also at Newcastle is the brilliantly sponsored Attheraces Rehearsal Chase at 2.40pm, and have a few quid each-way here on solid stayer SAROQUE. A mark of 132 is a bit high for this horse, but he’s a solid stayer who is in form for Venetia Williams.
So best of luck. A weekend of decent priced eachway chances and one or two shorties. Let’s hope we have a few Yeeehaaas!
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