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13:05 Newbury A tricky second race at Newbury with some of the most powerful yards in the country and the form of this race will likely be worth following over the course of the season. Paul Nicholls’ Sirabad reached its potential last time out with an all the way success from the front at Wincanton. While he looks a progressive sort, all of his best form has been on right handed tracks and there is no way he will get such an easy lead here today, so he may need to settle for minor honours here today. Malcom Jefferson’s Double W’s must carry top weight here following back to back successes at Wetherby and Carlisle. Brilliant start to his chasing career, but now up another 5lb and will do well to concede weight all round here. The value instead could lie Phillip Hobbs’ charge Imperial Presence. Champion Jockey Richard Johnson is in the saddle for the mount and the horse had a decent chasing debut when second to Old Guard at Newton Abbot last month. Plenty to suggest the horse will come on leaps and bounds from that experience and can build on that performance here today. He was a winner over hurdles and posted some useful form in defeat after that. He could offer some real each way value at the likely prices and gets the nod in a tricky race. IMPERIAL PRESENCE (E/W)

14:45 Newbury Another highly competitive contest back at Newbury for a handicap chase. Tom George’s runner Double Shuffle is an interesting contender here having been highly tipped up for a top handicap at Cheltenham last time. Disappointing that day, but this is easier and would be a big danger if resuming its progress. Concerns that he couldn’t build on the promise of reappearance second, but interesting nonetheless. Stilletto was tipped for great things last term for the Paul Nicholls yard and even went off favourite at the Cheltenham festival, but fall that day and another of his high profile outings suggests some jumping issues. First start for a new yard now, and would be huge danger to all as a lightly raced 7-year-old if resuming progress, but may still be too risky for full faith. The safe money in this field is with Dan Skelton’s progressive six-year-old Three Musketeers. The horse was a Grade 2 winner over hurdles and fences as a novice. He scored over course and distance this time last year at this meeting and then had a solid fourth in a grade 1 at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Now back on a decent mark here and improved for reappreance last term when scoring here so fully expect him to deliver again here today so he gets the confident nod. THREE MUSKETEERS (WIN)

15:20 Newbury A three mile handicap hurdle contest here and Harry Fry’s Behind Time is the likely warm favourite for this one. The horse impressed when romping up the Cheltenham hill on its seasonal reappearance to give out a comprehensive beating to the re-opposing Solomn Grundy. The JP McManus owned horse is due to go up 13lb for that effort in future so holds a massive chance here with useful conditions jockey Kieron Edgar in the saddle. The horse is very short in the market though, and will need to reproduce the same performance in a short space of time to cope in a better field today. Dangers are a plenty for the Harry Fry horse and the value may lie elsewhere. Paul Nicholls sends the impressive and progressive El Bandit here today in search of a six-timer, but he tries a new trip for the first time today and must concede weight to the entire field here. Despite this, however, it could be argued that he has simply been placed well in Novice races and his only handicap start to date was a wide margin 23 length success so could find further joy here and gets the each way nod. Of the rest, Board of Trade is potentially an improver for the Alan King yard at this new trip. He won two bumpers and a maiden hurdle last term as a juvenile and posted a decent second place on seasonal reappearance at Fontwell. Couldn’t build on that when falling at Cheltenham last time, but could go well at a massive price over today’s longer trip here. EL BANDIT (E/W)


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