Dave Nevison shares his best bets ahead of a brilliant day of action.
Caolin Quinn is having a great run at present and if he is booked for a ride that has a chance, then he is definitely getting the best out of them. This talent has clearly not gone unnoticed by Chris Gordon, who is very good at spotting and utilising young jockeys in the south and has booked Quinn to ride his in-form contender Blame The Game, who looks to have improved this season.
The dual-purpose performer has already won two chases this season and made all on similar ground to this on his latest start. Gordon looks to have found another weak event for him here and he can strike again.
Joe Tizzard’s charge was purchased for £300k after winning his sole point-to-point start as a five-year-old and, in the early part of this year, he was beginning to look as though he was on his way to somehow justifying that huge price tag.
He won handicaps at Sandown and Kempton in decent style and then raced over an extended three miles at Aintree where he finished a good third but did look as though he may be best suited by distances just short of that trip.
He reappeared at Exeter this month where he looked in need of the run having faded in the last half mile of the race.
Hopefully he will improve from that effort, and he is running over an unusual distance of 2m6f here plus has been dropped 3lb since his Aintree run, so is only 2lb above his last winning mark and has plenty going for him.
Now a non-runner
I was with this horse throughout the second half of last season after he beat the progressive Dorking Lad impressively in a small field at Huntingdon.
He looked every inch as though he was a smart staying chaser in the making on that occasion, and I backed him at both Kempton and Cheltenham subsequently. He ran really good races in big-field handicaps at both venues, but didn’t jump brilliantly on either occasion and also met trouble in running, as well as being forced to challenge wide in both races, so almost certainly did not achieve his best position.
He looked an improved performer when he reappeared in another competitive event at Ascot where he didn’t make any notable mistakes plus stayed on really well to win.
It is asking a lot for him to win the biggest handicap in the first half of the season, but I really believe this is a seriously good horse, and he is in the hands of a seriously good trainer.
The long straight, and wide track, at Newbury should suit him perfectly, too.
I take great stock of horses who excel around Newbury’s chase course and this exciting young chaser was set to win on his first attempt around here where he was leading before falling two out.
He showed no ill effects of that incident when scoring in impressive style by ten lengths over this course and distance on his next outing.
He was then highly tried in Grade One company and wasn’t up to it at that stage but reappeared this season at Cheltenham’s November meeting and once again made all to win in good style.
The six-year-old should get the lead again here and has only gone up 4lb for his recent success, so looks a very solid favourite.
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