We banged in a couple of winners to keep a good run going. It’s so important at this time of year with Cheltenham just around the corner.
Newbury and Warwick take centre-stage this weekend and I want to start at Newbury with the handicap hurdle over an extended 3m at 1.50pm.
I’m sticking with SYKES who is consistent and in good form, although he’s not an easy ride for Richard Johnson. A confirmed hold up horse he’ll need a decent pace to run at.
I expect BALLYNAGOUR to bounce back to his best for David Pipe in the Grade 2 Denman Chase atNewbury 2.25pm. The selection was pulled up last time at Kempton in the King George, but this is much easier.
DODGING BULLETS has been off the track a long time and in many ways is one to take on, but the opposition is not strong. If Paul Nicholls’ stable star is anywhere near his best he should beat these as the reigning Champion Chase hero.
The big betting race of the day is the Betfair handicap hurdle at Newbury at 3.35pm. I’m taking a chance with the Paul Nicholls-trained MODUS , even if he has been ditched by JP McManus’s retained rider Barry Geraghty (above).
The selection was runner-up in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival and has not done badly over hurdles despite being a beaten favourite last time. This big field and a strong pace will suit in a race where Paddy is paying the first 5 home.
The Listed Mares Hurdle at Warwick 2.05pm is a decent contest over 2m 5f. I like Irish raider JENNIES JEWEL who deserves a nice prize for Jarlath Fahey after chasing home Vroum Vroum Mag last time at Ascot. Compatriot Petite Parisienne from the all-conquering Willie Mullins yard looks the danger.
Finally, it’s the Grade 2 Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Warwick at 2.40pm. L’AMI SERGE looks a natural for Nicky Henderson and looks a penalty kick in a small field ahead of a tilt at Douvan in the Arkle Chase next month.
So best of luck. And let’s hope for a Yeeehaaas! You hear me Paddy?