We’re all heading to Newbury this Saturday to escape some of the freezing weather up North. With Newcastle cancelled, and some more likely, all eyes are on Berkshire. The Coral Gold Cup, or Hennessey if you prefer, takes centre stage with some exiting novices to look out for too. It’s another Saturday Four To Follow
It’s Cold Up North
Despite being off the track for 602 days, North Lodge looks like a class above here. He was last seen being placed in a Grade One novice hurdle at Aintree, beating the likes of Good Risk At All, Colonel Mustard and Stage Star. With a form book like that, there’s a weight of expectation for North Lodge to start with a win. And with the ground conditions a little firmer than usual, North Lodge should relish and outperform this significant drop in class.
That being said, Get A Tonic provides a more definite outlook. After experimenting over fences, she’s back to hurdles and racing off a decent mark of 130. A drop of five pounds is significant and may enjoy the drop back in trip too. Offers similar value to North Lodge at 15/2 (William Hill), and has already had a run for the Skelton’s.
Everything Is Under Control
2:15 – Gerry Fielden Intermediate H’cap Hurdle (Premier) – Under Control @ 13/8 (William Hill, BetVictor)
My BestofBets colleague Ash Symonds has waxed lyrical since the start of the season about Under Control. And I’ve succumbed to agree with him, for this race at least. Nine wins for Nicky Henderson in this race, shows how much quality can come out of it. And beating Iberico Lord only makes a simpler task of picking him as the NAP of the day. Expect him to go off odds-on.
And Our Champ could also turn up at a rather inflated price. He was well beaten on soft ground last time out, but the ground will be more to his liking today. Rex Dingle will be hoping for another determined performance after Dashel Drasher’s narrow win yesterday, but he may have to settle for second with and impressive winner at the start of this season. Each-way claims at 16/1 (BetVictor, BetUK).
Behold, My Genius Plan
2:50 – Coral Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Premier) – Monbeg Genius @ 15/2 (Betfred, Boylesports)
Probably the most improving horse in the field, Monbeg Genius has every right to be up there for this one. Ignore his Ascot run, when he was hampered, and you have a horse worthy winning any big handicap.
The main formline is the Ultima from March, a Grand National winner and a horse who has beaten the Gold Cup winner twice is something worth noting. And, keeping it in the family, Minella Missile (Tipped on this page) won at Cheltenham and is two from two.
Ground is no object, weight is perfect, trainer in form. What could possibly go wrong?
Stolen Silver may look like one that’s been thrown in the deep end by the handicapper. But with Ahoy Senor’s addition, the weight he’s carrying looks doable. A win in the Native River at Chepstow assured the fact he would easily get the three-mile trip.
Whilst it may look he wants soft ground, he will go on any. Sam Thomas is a good placing trainer and I expect he has had Stolen Silver ready for this tilt. Worth having on your side at 12/1 (William Hill, Betfred, Boylesports).
And an outsider that could get in those extra places, Kitty’s Light. It may not be his time of the season yet, but you feel with his chasing mark he has to go for these big handicaps. He’s weighted favourably for this race, and he’s coming in here off the back of two underwhelming hurdle runs.
3:25 – Jim Joel Memorial Trophy H’cap Chase – Elixir De Nutz @ 11/2 (General)
Master Chewy has been well backed after taking to fences well. But Elixir De Nutz displayed the quality of a six-year-old when winning the Haldon Gold Cup in fantastic fashion. Go back to the run in last year’s Game Spirit and you’ll see him plugging on when the pace got hot. Freddie Gingell is back after his big break at Exeter and can find some form for the duo.
The very best of luck!