Some of National Hunt racing’s big guns will be putting their Cheltenham credentials on the line this weekend with a Super Saturday in store at Newbury and Warwick.
In Berkshire, Gold Cup hopefuls Native River and Bristol De Mai will square off in the Denman Chase.
Before that, Arkle jolly Altior will line-up in the Game Spirit Chase while the Betfair Hurdle and the Grade 2 Kingmaker Novices’ Chase from the Midlands are just two of the other highlights.
And as you’d expect, we’ve pulled together our best bets for the complete ITV Racing card….
Much has been made of how quiet Colin Tizzard’s yard has been lately but don’t let that put you off backing Native River this weekend.
A dual winner at this track – in the Hennessy Gold Cup and a novice affair last year – expect Tizzard’s seven-year-old to prevail in what should be a thrilling duel.
The sharper trip is a minor concern but we remain right behind this stable star in what is effectively a match against Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Bristol De Mai.
His victory at Haydock was impressive but he’s likely to find this latest opponent too good.
Paul Nicholls’ Vibrato Valtat has struggled to establish himself at the very top level but this looks a far more manageable test.
A winner of the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at this track back in 2015, this should be a far easier assignment against lesser opposition.
Nicholls’ eight-year-old now finds himself running off a similar mark to when he enjoyed that success two years ago while main rivals Cold March and Activial look like they could have reached their respective limits.
The Betfair Hurdle is the big betting race of the day and we’ve been on the hunt for a corking value bet.
Veinard was one that immediately stood out, and not just because he’s saddled by Gordon Elliott and set to be ridden by teenage sensation, Jack Kennedy.
He’ll appreciate some cut in the ground, having finished 1322 before his most recent run at Leopardstown and should enjoy the likely fast pace.
Champion Bumper winner Ballyandy looks a strong pick while Song Light has been backed into single-figure odds following a sustained gamble this week.
But don’t be put off by our runner’s price. The last three winners of this contest have returned at 16/1, 20/1 and 33/1 respectively and we fancy this selection can continue that trend.
ITV Racing Tips:
13:50 Newbury – Tobefair
14:05 Warwick – Surtee Du Berlais
14:25 Newbury – Native River
14:40 Warwick – Knockgraffon
15:00 Newbury – Altior
15:15 Warwick – Vibrato Valtat
15:35 Newbury – Veinard
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing