This weekend we have top quality racing from both Newbury & Warwick. We see the return of the exciting Bravemansgame carrying top weight in a handicap at Newbury. We also see the second clash of the season between Edwardstone and Third Time Lucki.
Warwick 1:35 – 2m5f (Inner) Virgin Bet Warwick Mares’ Hurdle (Listed Race) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)
This looks a nice opportunity for INDEFATIGABLE (8/11) to get back to winning ways. She won a group two at Wetherby in October and then finished last in a hot race. Two weeks later she was second to an improving horse of Lucy Wadham’s and she carried a penalty that day, so it was a good performance.
MARIE’S ROCK (5/2) for Nicky Henderson was extremely disappointing last time after being a well backed favourite. She won easily at Kempton in a class 3 handicap prior to being pulled up.
WHITEHOTCHILLIFILLI (5/1) has been disappointing this season and would want the heavens to open to get her desired heavy ground.
GET A TONIC (10/1) gets weight from most here and this exciting novice would most definitely need to step up here in open company. However, she was behind the exciting Hillcrest at Cheltenham on her last run, and she has won twice and been second in her other runs this season. I think this Dan Skelton mare is on the up and could well have a say in this at a more favourable track.
Warwick 2:05 – 2m (2m54y) Virgin Bet Kingmaker Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Although only having the four declarations this is set to be an intriguing race. Whoever wins this will most likely be carrying the crown of the leading English contender for the Arkle, so the anticipation is very high.
EDWARDSTONE (1/1) has been flawless after being brought down in his first race of the season this year. He completely smashed THIRD TIME LUCKI (15/8) by 16 lengths and has won impressively again since. Although Third Time Lucki will have conditions more favourable here as FOR PLEASURE (14/1) will set a blistering gallop which will suit. For Pleasure took a tired fall last time and will need to bounce back.
BRAVE SEASCA (9/2) has improved with each run for Venetia Williams, but this is big step above what he has been winning. He does however have experience over C&D and jumps with such fluency. I’m surprised he’s as short as 9/2 to be honest. I think he has to come on leaps and bounds to compete with the front two at the head of the market.
Newbury 2:25 – 2m7½f (2m7f86y) Betfair Denman Chase (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1)(5yo+)
CLAN DES OBEAUX (10/11) is out to go one better this year and beat this quintet. This year’s race looks stronger than last on paper, but new tactics have been applied to the two time King George winner which seemed to have freshened him up. He was the only horse up with the pace that made a showing in this year’s King George so he’s still in top form.
ROYAL PAGAILLE (5/2) is on another mission towards the Gold Cup with a faultless performance in the Peter Marsh at Haydock off top weight. Venetia Williams is flying at the moment and the way Charlie Deutsch is riding, it would be no surprise if he was able to get into a rhythm.
IMPERIAL AURA (4/1) has been very disappointing this season, not completing either of his two runs to date. Trainer Kim Bailey is striking at only 7% and this looks a tough race for him to get back to winning ways.
ELDORADO ALLEN (10/1) hit the crossbar last time finishing behind Mister Fisher at Kempton. He won a grade two on his first start of the season impressively and he could be a little overlooked at the current prices.
DE RASHER COUNTER (20/1) has been off 489 days and may struggle to give any kind of showing.
Newbury 3:00 – 2m½f (2m92y) Betfair Exchange Game Spirit Chase (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
SCEAU ROYAL (2/1) is sent back over fences to try and defend his crown after winning this race last year. Alan King made the decision to send him back over hurdles this season, however after winning his first two races this season his previous two have left much to be desired. He has what it takes to win this, but it all depends on what version of him we get.
HITMAN (2/1) was in front of Chacun Pour Soi & Nube Negra in the Tingle Creek at Sandown last time out. Although both trainers have come out with reasons for why they weren’t at their best, this was still his best career run to date. Warwick is a track sure to suit and this could be his day in the sun. Paul Nicholl’s form is worrying however having only one winner from his last 37.
FUNAMBULE SIVOLA (5/2) was a handy winner at Doncaster but would need to come forward again to win this. He would want the conditions to stay dry. SKY PIRATE (5/1) has struggled when running in these races of higher quality.
Newbury 3:35 – 2m½f (2m69y) Betfair Hurdle (Handicap) (Grade 3) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)
This is a fascinating renewal and with so many unexposed hurdlers, its almost hard to have a strong opinion on the race. JPR ONE (9/2) is the current market leader, and he was impressive at Taunton last time, but this is a huge step up in grade and has questions to answer.
BROOMFIELD BURG (5/1) represents JP McManus and was a ready winner at Kempton over Christmas. KNAPPERS HILL (6/1) was in hot company at Ascot when third to highly rated Jonbon. Elle Est Belle, who was behind him, has come out a nice winner on Thursday and jockey Harry Cobden holds this horse in very high regard.
SOARING GLORY (13/2) last year’s winner of the race will be in a tough battle here off top weight. BOOTHILL (8/1)was once a horse talked about for the Supreme but has been riddled with injuries. He was sent chasing after winning his seasonal debut over hurdles which was strange but he’s back over the familiar hurdles.
FIFTY BALL (9/1) hasn’t kicked on from his second placed effort in this race last year and is off the same mark. TRITONIC (9/1) won nicely at Ascot before a disappointing effort in the Christmas Hurdle all be it that was in much higher company.
I LIKE TO MOVE IT (10/1) represents Nigel Twiston-Davies and was last at Sandown last time. He won at Cheltenham before that however that was a weak race. JETOILE (10/1) was second behind the outstanding Constitution Hill in the Tolworth last time out. That was on heavy ground, and he had a proven winner as well as a next time out winner in behind him so that form reads well.
FIRST STREET (11/1) has been well backed and remains of interest. GLORY AND FORTUNE (14/1) has had early support and was second to Epatante at Kempton. ROYAUME UNI (20/1), HOWDYALIKEMENOW (40/1) & LORD BADDESLEY (50/1) round off the field.
BRAVEMANSGAME runs in the first at Newbury looking to defy top weight in this his prep run for the Brown Advisory Novices Chase at Cheltenham next month. He would want to defy the yards current form and continue his superb ways after a flawless performance in the Kauto Star at Kempton. PATS FANCY could be the one to chase him home.
JOURNEY WITH ME beat Kilcruit and Minella Crooner on hurdling debut at Leopardstown and both of those horses have come out and been mightily impressive since. It’ll be all roads ahead to the Ballymore if Rachael is able to steer him to victory. O’TOOLE and HI HO PHOENIX could be the two challenging Henry De Bromhead’s runner.
Warwick 1:35 – Get A Tonic 10/1
Warwick 2:05 – Edwardstone 1/1
Newbury 2:25 – Eldorado Allen 10/1 ew
Newbury 3:00 – Hitman 2/1
Newbury 3:35 – Knappers Hill 6/1 ew