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13.15 Newbury

Not many trainers or in fact racing fans would have been expecting to see Bravemansgame turning up in a race of this nature after winning the Kauto Star in December. But for me I don’t actually think he is all that he is cracked up to be and I think time will show that, even if he does win today. The form of Nicholls yard leaves a lot to be desired at the moment as well, so I will side with Pats Fancy. He started his career off in Irish points before a move to Rebecca Curtis’s Welsh yard, starting off for with some promise culminating with a second in a grade 2 at Cheltenham. He was always going to improve for a fence and duly has, with two impressive victories at Chepstow on his last two starts. Last time out beating Imperial Alcazar by 11L who then won at Cheltenham. Given this a novice handicap I think he could take the measure of Bravemansgame.


written by Michael Taylor

13:35 Warwick

Whitehotchillifili hasn’t been disgraced this year, improving with every run. She was last seen placing third in a competitive Grade Two at Ascot. She’s raced at Warwick twice, placing third and pulling up during the other. Although she arrives in good form and is a likeable mare, she would have to produce a career best to threaten the top two.

Indefatigable was disappointing at Newbury after a top-notch display at Wetherby. She duly bounced back to form when going down by a neck at Cheltenham in December. She won this race two years ago, on the same ground, and she has a nice strike rate on good-to-soft ground. She’s the class act in the race, rated 7 lbs higher than her nearest rival, but she may not have it her own way.

Marie’s Rock was quite impressive at Kempton on Boxing Day, taking rather well to the step up in trip, which should suit her today. You can forgive her subsequent run at Kempton, in the Lanzarote Hurdle, when she was very badly hampered by a faller. She gains 6 lbs off Indefatigable, which draws them pretty much level on ratings. She has upside and quite a lot going for her, she might well pose a threat to Indefatigable.


written by Kieran McHugh

13:50 Newbury Polish won this race at a big price last year but will be no such price to repeat his success today. He is now back down to the same mark as when winning last year but he hasn’t looked like a return to the winners enclosure is on the cards for him as of late. The lightly raced The Brimming Water tries a first time tongue tie today to try to extract a little more from him. He has been fairly progressive since joining Samuel Drinkwater and seemed to stay three miles okay last time out. He seems the most likely winner of this event stepping up in class here. It will be interesting to see how The Big Breakaway performs back over hurdles after having wind surgery following his loss to Chantry House in a match race and Sussex Ranger is another who returns to hurdles and could go well at a big price considering his mark is a lot lower than when he was last seen over the smaller obstacles and will carry a light weight for this race. THE BRIMMING WATER (WIN)

written by Tom Bates

14.05 Warwick

Despite the four runners, this is a quality event in its own right, but also contains some serious contenders for the Arkle trophy at the Cheltenham festival.

For Pleasure has plenty to find realistically, but he should get into a nice rhythm up front, which is his usual run style. If Kielan Woods can restrain him sufficiently to get the run of the race, he could outrun his likely odds. However there is a bigger chance he could set this up for the main protagonists.

Both Edwardstone and Third Time Lucki both enjoy having a strong pace to aim at. Both strong travellers and getting to grips with chasing. Throw Brave Seasca into the mix and this has the making of an intriguing affair.

Edwardstone looks like he’s going to make a better chaser than hurdler. He’s done nothing wrong over fences to date and currently lies very near the top of the Arkle market.

Third Time Lucki looks very good when everything clicks. He was beaten a long way behind Edwardstone at Sandown two runs ago, but Harry Skelton went a suicidal pace that day, so that would have exaggerated the distance.

Brave Seasca is progressing and was an emphatic winner here last time. But that wasn’t against this class of opposition and he has something to find.

This is certainly not a penalty kick for Edwardstone, but he ticks most boxes and is taken to win this on his way to a crack at the Arkle in March.


written by Matt Polley

14:25 Newbury

Trainer Paul Nicholls has a superb record in this race, winning a staggering ten of the twenty-one renewals, and runs Clan Des Obeaux who won in 2019 when it was staged at Ascot rather than here Newbury and then suffered the anguish of being beaten a neck by Secret Investor in last years’ contest. With an official rating of 172 and four Grade 1 victories to his name he is the class horse in the race, yet his re-appearance run when second in the King George on Boxing Day didn’t set the world alight and his current trainer form would have to be a serious concern.

In contrast, the Venetia Williams stable are absolutely flying and run Royal Pagaille who arrives here on the back of a hard-fought victory in the Peter Marsh at Haydock last month, ridden to lead two from home and then staying on strongly to repel the sustained challenge of Sam Brown. With his best results coming in testing conditions he will be hoping some rain arrives and there is also a worry that this could come too soon after Haydock.

Colin Tizzard has won three of the last five renewals with Native River, however his runner this time around is Eldorado Allen who has a bit to find with the aforementioned two and also has stamina to prove over this trip, while Imperial Aura has failed to complete in his last four runs so has plenty of questions to answer, meaning that it could be worth chancing the outsider of the quintet De Rasher Counter who is two from two over fences here at Newbury and has both trip and conditions in his favour. It’s not the easiest race to make his long-awaited return but there are enough question marks over his rivals to think he has a chance of finishing in the top two.


written by Dean Kilbryde

15:00 Newbury

After the defection of Editeur Du Gite, we’re left with just four runners in the Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase and only nine-pounds separates the runners on ratings. Hitman(9/4) is by far the best treated in the race carrying just eleven stone but the current form of lack of for Paul Nicholls’ yard tempers enthusiasm. The lightly-raced gelding chased home stablemate Greaneteen in the Tingle Creek most recently but that horse flopped at the Dublin racing festival, so it’s best to avoid the Nicholls’ runners at present.

Funambule Sivola(3/1) makes a quick reappearance following a smooth victory at Doncaster two weeks ago. He was a classy individual last season evidenced by his runner-up finish to Shiskin at Aintree. The rude health of Venetia’s horses gives him leading claims but I doubt whether he’s got the class to win a race of this nature. Sky Pirate(5/1) never seems to run a bad race and put it all together when landing the Grand Annual at Cheltenham last season. He’s run well without winning this season and I see a similar story unfolding here.

I’ll side with the top-weight and last season’s winner Sceau Royal(2/1) by a process of elimination really. Alan King’s charge has yet to run over fences this season but has won a brace of hurdle races and finished third in a Grade 1 when last seen running over the larger obstacles. He was slightly disappointing in the International Hurdle when last seen but should be difficult to beat back in this company.


written by Peter Keogh

15:15 Warwick

A tricky looking handicap chase here. Amoola Gold is in much calmer waters after coming up against Shiskin & Energumene last time out let's be honest never stood a chance against those two heavyweights. However will still find this a tricky task under top weight.

Celebre D'Allen goes into this as favourite having been 2 from 2 over in France. How strong that form is no one really knows and maybe is a risky betting proposition when not much is known about him.

Falco Blitz will prefer this track you would like to think after jumping left-handed at Kempton last time out and has obvious claims. Dinny Lacey is Robbie Power only ride at Warwick and makes the rare trip back to England is perhaps worth noting.

First selection I like is Jacamar who looked very good at Kempton boxing day wasn't so good next time out at Cheltenham and never jumped well on that day. If you can forgive that run, he was in very good from previously before that and looks to have each way value.

My other selection is Lieutenant Rocco. Do think he is a little overpriced if you take some of his form last season into account. He finished 2nd behind Fusil Raffles at Cheltenham last season who won the Charlie Hall Chase this season and has run in decent company. Lieutenant Rocco has the course and distance form and is the only horse to have won at Warwick in this race. Which could prove handy when you consider Warwick can be a testing track with a long run in at the home straight.

He may have needed the run last time out pulling up but if you can forgive him for that. He is on a handy mark based on some of last season form. Some bookies maybe paying the extra places so do look for that. But again, is another who holds an each way chance


written by Luke Tucker

15:35 Newbury

The numerical turnout for this has caused quite a debate during the build-up and a disappointing total of just fourteen stood their ground at the final declaration stage. Quite why or what is to blame for this apparently never-ending trend is anyone's guess though should just one fail to show up, this would be the smallest field since the turn of the Century and is only tied for that grim record because Ascot hosted the 2019 renewal.

Negative thoughts to one side, perhaps mercifully, the field that has shown up appears as intriguing as ever and a cracking race looks on the cards. Historical trends suggest a Novice or horse aged five or six will provide the winner, indeed you must go back to Geos winning the 2004 renewal as an eight-year-old to find the last winner to buck that trend.

Broomfield Burg has attracted strong support in the build-up and currently heads the market. Impressive when last seen at Kempton, there is every chance he has been laid out for this and a massive amount of respect is afforded.

Soaring Glory has plenty of weight to carry and is taken on, however, Jonjo tends to target these races and he was a decisive winner of last season's renewal. Glory And Fortune is closely matched with Soaring Glory if the form of the Christmas Hurdle is taken literally, given he gets four pounds from that rival today, one might even suggest he offers something in the way of value though both were likely flattered by their proximity to Epatante and neither make much appeal.

Jpr One could be the potential dark horse having been raced just the three times to date, impressive enough last time, it is impossible to dismiss his chances out of hand here and his yard landed a double at Kempton yesterday. Despite the apparent positives, no horse as inexperienced as him has won this in recent times and he is taken on with that in mind.

Boothill was sent off favourite on his return at Ascot and looked like winning before tiring late on, eventually finishing around two and a half lengths behind Soaring Glory. Sent chasing the time after, he put in a very disappointing effort and once again, burnt fingers in the process. Clearly talented, his return to this sphere looks likely to suit and he now gets a whopping twelve pounds from his Ascot conqueror.

Royaume Uni hails from a yard responsible for saddling three fairly recent winners of this race, quite progressive and trading at massive odds, he could provide the each way players with a decent return if getting a decent clip to aim at. First Street appears the Henderson second string though like a few, he has any amount of improvement left in him and would be risky to write off. Tritonic and I Like To Move It are others with claims but Boothill is taken to finally break the stranglehold of the younger horses and land this as a seven-year-old for Harry Fry.


ROYAUME UNI (E/W) written by Chris Connolly



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