He’s already started this season brightly by claiming the Paddy Power Gold Cup and Betfair Chase, amongst a host of other races, and if we are on the money, Paul Nicholls could be in for another successful Saturday at Newbury.
The champion trainer has two huge chances in the Hennessy Gold Cup, with Unioniste and Rocky Creek (who gets this writer’s vote), but could be set for victory later in the day as well.
And like Nicholls you could be smiling with Saturday with Ladbrokes.
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Here’s our trio of selections.
A very impressive winner of a Sandown handicap off a mark of 126, he was pitched in at the deep end last time out, but still ran respectably in the Greatwood Hurdle.
He has gone up another 6lbs but should be able to shoulder the extra weight back down in grade.
The form of the aforementioned win has been boosted by the sixth horse (26L back) winning next time out and The Brock Again (3rd) running fairly well in Listed company.
The step up in trip looks suitable on breeding and the soft ground will be right up his alley. He should go close under Conor Shoemark.
The first and second in this race last year collide again, but with conditions in his favour this time round, Vintage Star looks a good bet to reverse the placings with Hey Big Spender.
Sue Smith’s charge is obviously a classy sort, placing in a Grade 2 last season, and returned to action with a runners up spot behind Irish Grand National winner Shutthefrootdoor last time out.
He will strip fitter for that run, and with both his wins over fences coming with give in the ground, everything points to a big run for the eight-year-old.
Despite being hampered and Noel Fehily losing an iron, Paul Nicholls’ horse managed to get up and win well last time out at Wetherby.
With just a 5lb rise in the weights, he looks well handicapped for a big run.
As a four-year-old there is surely more improvement to come from the half-brother to Coral Hurdle runner-up Blue Fashon.
Factor in that the Ditcheat handlers’ horses are flying at the moment – he’s operating a 26% strike-rate in the last fortnight – and that most of his runners are needing a run first time out, he looks a solid bet to challenge the judge.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing
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