After last weeks coverage of the Dublin Racing Festival we return to home shores to cover racing at Newbury and Warwick.

If you enjoyed the Dublin Racing Festival as much as me you can see my views on horses to take out of last weeks big event here

Right lets get on with finding those winners for the racing on ITV at Newbury and Warwick.


13.50 The Betfair Cash Out Handicap Hurdle Race (0-145)

We kick off with a very competitive handicap hurdle that offers good prize money. The eye is draw straight away to Barters Hill, with his trainers horses now running well it is tempting to expect a big run from the eight-year-old returning after 457 days off the track. Sadly the heart cannot rule the head and this to my eyes looks like a comeback run and he is best watched rather than advising anyone to back him. I hope he comes back sound for the run as on his day he was a very classy animal. The bet in the race for me will be Lough Derg Farmer at around 5/1, the point to point winner comes back over hurdles and could make a mockery of his 132 rating. He has impressed me in the past aside from his poor start to life as a chaser, with that career on hold he remains very unexposed as a hurdler. Given Nicky Henderson's record at the track it is the Presenting gelding that will be my pick for the first.

14.25 The Betfair Denman Steeple Chase (Grade 2)

On a day where comebacks seem to be the theme Native River returns to the scene of one of his many good wins last season. His last run had him placing in the Gold Cup, whilst that is good form I do feel you have to be quite brave to back him today at the 10/11 on offer. He is by far the best horse in the race should he run to his mark, my concern is about the long lay off and the fact he will be using this as a springboard to bigger races later in the season. I am tempted by the profile of Saphir Du Rheu but the same logic of a prep run for Spring festivals applies to Paul Nicholls runner, with that in mind it will be Cloudy Dream that I opt for. We had dreadful news recently with Malcolm Jefferson passing away, his daughter Ruth has taken over the yard and I am sure no one would begrudge her a big race winner. Getting three pounds from Native River could be key and his the form behind Definitely Red at Aintree looks great after his recent win at Cheltenham.

15.00 The Betfair Exchange Steeple Chase (Grade 2)

Alitor returns and the race looks a good opportunity for Nicky Henderson’s super star chaser, he is back ahead of schedule after initial doubts about him even making the Festival this year. The one thing you can be sure of he will be ready for a race of this nature but the end goal will not be today, it is all about getting him spot on for March and with that thought in my head it could prove fruitful to look elsewhere at the prices

The selection to take him on with seems really quite clear, Politologue has taken some time to get his act together but after three good wins this season he finally looks set to come close to fulfilling his potental. On rating he will struggle to beat Altior but as mentioned he is not going to be all out for today. Paul Nicholls can get the better of old adversary Nicky Henderson in the Game Spirit with his seven year old.

15.35 The Betfair Hurdle Race (Handicap) (Grade 3)

One of the best handicaps you will find on the racing calendar, it is fantastic to see a full field in this years race after a poor turn out last season. The race has several candidates you can make strong claims for, I understand why plenty will follow Nicky Henderson horse Jenkins, things finally started to click for the six year old after wins at Kempton and Ascot, he also put up a very impressive effort as a novice at Newbury so we know the track is no issue to him. I just wonder if the rise to 148 is going to be beyond him and in a race this deep with quality he would not be for me. Kalashnikov has been a real star for Amy Murphy, I was at Wetherby when he was so impressive on his hurdles debut his size was striking as was his pace, my concerns for him would be if the ground got a bit too soft and as much as I respect him he does not make my shortlist. The first horse that does is Knocknanuss, Gary Moore loves to target the race and has been very successful in doing so previously. The eight year old is very lightly raced and has been doing his winning at typical Moore tracks. The form lines look strong enough given most of what has beaten him has won again since or at least placed in decent races. At 14/1 he will be one of my two selections to back each way in the race. The other is a 40/1 shot that really I think has unfulfilled potental, Divin Bear at one stage I felt could have been an outsider contender for a Champion hurdle (no laughing at the back) Whilst I was probably way off he is a disrespectful price for a horse that finished second at the Cheltenham Festival and behind Defi Du Seuil last season. I cannot let him go unbacked and with it likely that many firms will go 5 places on the race he is my second each way shout for the race.


14.05 The Olbg.Com Mares’ Hurdle Race (Listed Race)

A the five day stage we had a real mix of characters to choose from, whilst the race has cut up at bit it is pleasing to see seven remain in the race. Midnight Jazz will be a key horse to my eye, Ben Case nearly claimed the scalp of Vroum Vroum Mag last season at Doncaster in another one of our races. Today slightly further in trip he believes she will be better suited “I think as she has got older she suits a longer trip” She would also be likely to make the running and could catch a few cold as they turn for home should she get a soft lead. A horse that is trying this trip for the the first time is Emma Lavelle’s Woolstone One. The six year old by Authorised has improved for the move to her stable winning twice and finishing second on her three starts so far. I know Woolstone Ones’s previous trainer believed she had a huge amount of ability and whilst today looks a big step up for her I think she offers a great each way alternative and is my selection for the race.

14.40 The Kingmaker Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 2)

Saint Calcados will be the shortest priced horse tipped in the blog today but with good reason. The 154 rated novice has been so impressive in his two starts over fences to far this season. Both runs came at Newbury which is a good test for a novice chaser and on each occasion he not only won but did so in fine fashion. You can potentially find a few holes in the form and on paper he has not dispatched any top level horses yet, today he benefits from a pull in the weights from everything else in the race including his nearest market rival North Hill Harvey who has to give Saint Calvados six pounds. This should see an electric round of jumping from the five year old who may by close of play Saturday could represent the best British chance of a winning in the Arkle at the Festival in March.

15.15 The Warwick Castle Handicap Steeple Chase

The last ITV race live from Warwick looks arguably one of the hardest to solve, Templehills down at the bottom of the weights is going to be my tentative section for the two mile four contest. The course and distance winner had a poor end to last season but rediscovered some form on his seasonal reappearance at Chepstow in January. He is entitled to improve for that run and i believe worth a look in a race of this nature. Top weight Kylemore Lough is the obvious danger to our pick with the nine year old falling just short of top class in the chasing world it would not surprise me to see him go off a well backed favourite for the race.