WE’VE teamed up with BetVictor and Charlie McCann to preview the weekend’s big races.
Few horses have impressed most this season than Dynaste on his Chase debut at Cheltenham earlier in the month and he is hard to oppose in Saturday’s Grade 2 Chase the highlight of the middle day of Newbury’s Hennessy meeting.
The grey finished behind Big Buck’s three times over hurdles last season but looked a potential star over the bigger obstacles at Prestbury Park and must be supported until me meets with defeat.
It is by no means a one-horse race of course and Court In Motion ran a cracker on his chase debut returning from a lengthy absence and is entitled to come on for the run. The Emma Lavelle seven-year-old receives weight from the principles and although his Wincanton conqueror did little for the form yesterday at Newbury he must go close.
Pasco has left Paul Nicholls’ since last season but the grey looked as good as ever on his reappearance when scoring at Aintree. The selection is 8lbs higher and he wouldn’t want the ground too soft but he is still well handicapped on his best form and gets into Saturday’s race off a featherweight.
Nicholls is represented by The Knoxs who used to be trained by Howard Johnson and is a big danger. He fell on his first couple of starts over fences but is a good jumper and he finally got his act together at Ayr in the spring. He is only 6lb higher and that looks very fair in what looks an cracking handicap chase.
Nicky Henderson’s Kaki De La Pree won an Irish point-to-point and is considered a good long term prospect but Puffin Billy cannot be opposed for Lambourn trainer Oliver Sherwood in the finale. Winner of both Bumpers he could hardly have been more impressive at Ascot at the beginning of the month. It is possible that the races he has won have not been of the highest quality or he doesn’t take to obstacles, but the sky really could be the limit for the four-year-old who looks a Cheltenham horse to me.
On Saturday I am keen on the chances of Rey Nacarado in the opening Amateur riders’ Chase. A C&D winner on soft ground over last New Year, he is only 2lb higher than that success and the handicapper has dropped him a couple of pounds for what was a pleasing reappearance.
The highlight of the weekend is the Hennessy Gold Cup and 19 go to post with the market headed at BetVictor by RSA Chase winner Bobs Worth at 4/1 from Hold On Julio at 7s and Tidal Bay 7s and The Package 9s.
Having backed Alfie Spinner at 66/1 when the betting started on the race I can’t desert him now. The race is often won by a progressive second season chaser and while he looks too short in the betting now he is likely to drift on the day and the hope is that he can gallop all the way to the line. He might lack the class of some previous winners but it doesn’t look a vintage renewal and the hope is he can sneak a place.
Paul Nicholls continues to carry all before him in these big weekend races and if on a going day the enigmatic Tidal Bay could turn this into a procession even at the age of 11. He is 12lb higher than when winning the Bet365 Handicap, formerly Whitbread, back in the spring but showed he was as good as ever when scoring over hurdles last time.
Bobs Worth needs good ground and conditions certainly didn’t look too bad on the opening day. No rain is forecast although the frost will ensure the ground remains on the soft side. He is not the biggest to be carrying lumps of weight on bad ground but he is a class performer although he might be not seen to best advantage until Cheltenham in the spring.
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