Racing: There is a brilliant afternoon of racing tomorrow with the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury (3.10) leading the way and the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle (2.20) the chief supporting race of the day.
Let’s start off at Newbury where RSA Chase winner Bobs Worth has been an uneasy favourite all week, due to the testing nature of the going at the Berkshire venue.
With the ground drying out by the hour though, trainer Nicky Henderson has been sounding a lot more optimistic about his chances and there is no getting away from the fact that if the seven-year-old is to be considered a genuine Gold Cup hope, then he surely has to win this renewal off a handicap mark of 160.
Tidal Bay is many people’s idea of the winner off top weight but he needs it softer than this and in any case is badly handicapped in my book.
Two previous winners, Carruthers and Diamond Harry, are both nicely in on those performances but have been badly out of form and I much prefer the claims of First Lieutenant.
The Mouse Morris charge was outstayed up the hill by Bobs Worth at Cheltenham but has two things on his side here.
First, he will be tight fit with a run under his belt and second, returning to a left-handed track will also help him immensely. At a double figure price he makes a lot of appeal in an open renewal.
Of the remainder, surely Harry the Viking and Teaforthree will find this an insufficient test of stamina but Alfie Spinner may run into a place at big odds if putting in a clear round of jumping.
The Fighting Fifth is at the mercy of Cinders and Ashes and I can’t see the Supreme Novice Hurdle winner being turned over here. He probably has most to fear from the Irish raider Trifolium, especially as the ground will be against Triumph Hurdle hero Countrywide Flame.
In receipt of plenty of weight from those at the top of the handicap Red Mile should run a huge race at a price in the Newbury opener at 12.15, while the return to two miles in the 3.40 should suit Ulck Du Lin.
Sunday’s high-class card at Fairyhouse is also well worth a mention here. Minsk impressed me greatly on his return to timber this season, jumping superbly to hose up at Punchestown.
The Royal Bond Hurdle at 1.05 is a huge step up in class but he may be able to turn over Champagne Fever and Jezki.
Finally, I want to be against Dedigout in the Drinmore Chase at 1.35. Buckers Bridge is the way I want to go here as his win over Sword of Destiny has been emphatically cemented by the runner-up since.
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