Horse Racing: Newbury and Warwick provide plenty of Cheltenham Clues

Our top tipster had five winners in last week's big race preview, including 3 from 3 at Leopardstown. Can he do it again this weekend?

Stefan Fellows

There are plenty of Cheltenham clues on offer this weekend with all eyes turning to the action at Newbury and Warwick as we take our usual look at the big races.

Nine go to post at 1.50 for what looks a tight handicap hurdle over 3 miles. One For The Team and Dolphin Square are likely to head the market, they met two starts ago over this CD with only 3 lengths separating them when filling the places in a competitive handicap; both have gone on to post further solid efforts last time and you would expect little between them again.

Ainchea and Thunderstruck are both lightly raced and could be open to improvement now stepping up in distance, but it`s another unexposed type in the shape of Versatility who I expect a good showing from.

The Nicky Henderson trained runner has just had the 3 starts over hurdles and has a fair bit to find on the form he has shown so far, however last time out suggested this step up in distance would suit as will the return to better underfoot conditions.

Altior is the headline act on the Newbury card and Racing fans will be hoping he returns successful at 2.25. A lot has been said about the star chaser recently but the drop back to 2 mile looks the right move and he is expected to add a third Game Spirit Chase to his already illustrious list of achievements.

Of the opponents well a couple of these have seen the back of Altior on plenty of occasions but 2 that have not and are open to improvement are the second season chasers Dynamite Dollars and Kalashinkov.

Horse Racing

Dynamite Dollars looked like he had the makings of being a top-class 2 miler in his novice season, including when beating Kalashinkov in his first season over fences but that was cut short and he now returns to the track after over a year off.

Kalashnikov gave trainer Amy Murphy her first Grade 1 success when winning at Aintree in April and has ran well on 2 of his 3 starts over further this season.With excuses for his below showing last time he is expected to prove that running wrong with the return to Newbury a track that suits and the application of cheek pieces.

Another short price favourite in the shape of Native River heads the field in the Denman Steeple Chase (3.00). Successful in this race in 2017 and 2018, the latter before going onto winning the Gold Cup it`s hard to make a case for him not to make it a hat trick of victories in a race that lacks viable alternatives.

As usual, the 3:35 Betfair Hurdle looks an extremely competitive handicap. The unexposed pair of Mack The Man and Not So Sleepy currently head the market after impressive wins in tough handicaps last time.

Not So Sleepy got hit with a hefty hike of 17lbs for his Ascot victory and preference from the pair is the Ewan Williams trained runner horse who despite being raised 8lbs himself looks to be on a more workable mark; he looks sure to go well but he does have a slight question mark around him being at his best on decent ground.

Horse Racing Tips 3

Owner JP Mc Manus always likes to target something at this big pot and he is represented this year by the Nicky Henderson trained Never Adapt and the Irish trained Willie Mullins representative Ciel De Neige.

Both have similar profiles in being lightly raced French imports from powerful stables and it will be interesting to see how much improvement they have to come.

Another to have targeted the race recently is trainer Nigel Twiston Davies and with him winning 3 of the last 6 years he sure knows the type to go close. His main representative for me this year is Stolen Silver. A winner of 2 of his 3 completed hurdle starts he stepped up on his second-place to the highly regarded Chantry House at Cheltenham 2 starts ago when winning a grade 2 novice event at Haydock.He had the re-opposing Thebannerkingrebel 2 lengths back in third that day and despite the latter weighted to reverse that form I expect the demands of a large field handicap to be more in Stolen Silver`s favour and for him to come out on top again.The better underfoot conditions look fine and he should go close in giving connections another success this year.

One at a larger price who I also wish to have on my side is the Paul Nicholls trained Ecco, this gelding of the excellent NH sire Maxios steps into handicap company for the first time on the back of some solid efforts in graded company including finishing 6th in last season’s triumph hurdle.

He ran well last time out at Kempton behind the Nicky Henderson trained Fred (has since gone on to win again) and again is another who I expect will be better suited by a handicap ran at a decent gallop.


Over at Warwick some improving Novice Chasers look to book their ticket to Cheltenham in The Kingmaker at 2:05 and the one who looks to tick most boxes is Nube Negra.

A winner of 2 of his 3 chase starts he comes here top-rated after his second-place finish in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase. Local trainer Dan Skelton has an impressive 43% strike rate in recent years with his chasers in non-handicaps at Warwick and he is expected to add another success here.

Idefatigable is likely to go off favourite in the Listed Mares’ Hurdle Race (2.40) on the back of some consistent runs in a couple of listed races this season. She is closely matched with Copper Gone West when the pair meet at Sandown last time but a return to better ground on this sharper track should play to her strengths.

She is going to be at her best though to give 2lbs to the improving Rebecca Curtis mare Legends Gold. A winner of 4 of her last 5 starts she showed she has not finished progressing when a good winner over 3 miles at Ludlow last month. She looks adaptable with conditions and the drop back in trip is expected not to be an issue.

Katpoli and Gala Ball arrive in decent form after victories last time out and that is more than what can be said about some of their opponents in this 2m 4f Handicap Chase (3.15). King Of Realms is a previous course winner and showed up well for a long way last time out at Kempton. Ian Williams applies blinkers for the first time today and this front runner could be hard to peg back if as expected he gets into a nice rhythm on the front end.

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