Two meetings for us to concentrate on this afternoon from Warwick and Newbury. We are going to look at a race from each course. It is a day when decisions will be made regarding Cheltenham participation. Our two focus races are prime examples.
The going at Warwick will be heavy, soft in places. Thankfully the weather forecast at Newbury has turned a lot kinder than originally predicted and most of the expected rainfall before racing will now be light. Currently soft with heavy areas on the hurdle course.
2.05 Warwick OLBG.com Mares´ Hurdle (Listed Race)
Irish challenger Jennies Jewel sets the standard on recent form having finished a creditable second at Ascot on latest start. The 9y.o. has been extensively campaigned almost exclusively in Ireland. That Ascot run being only her second British start since coming over for the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.
The other Irish challenger is Petite Parisienne from the Willie Mullins yard. Not shown much since winning at the Punchestown Festival last year and was soundly beaten at Sandown on latest start. Hooded for the first time.
All of Jennies Jewel’s opponents can all be given a chance on their best form, but have been disappointing of late. It will pay to watch the market closely. I go 9/4 joint for Jennies Jewel and Jessber’s Dream with Petite Parisienne third in at 9/2.
2.25 Newbury Betfair Denman Chase (Grade 2)
Ballynagour has excellent prospects if running near to his best. Cheltenham Festival winner in 2014 and went down narrowly in a Grade 1 at Aintree last year to a resurgent Silviniaco Conti. Started this season with a third place in the Charlie Hall, just under four lengths behind the current top money earner, Cue Card.
After competing in the Betfair Chase and King George on his latest two starts, this represents a slight drop in class. Pulled up on that King George run and I expect David Pipe has put a lot of work into him for this.
Rocky Creek is the obvious danger and most likely to take advantage if Ballynagour is below form. Won the Betbright Chase around this time last year and then went straight to the National, finishing down the field. Since then he has run three times: A decent second in Ireland and pulled up either side of that run.
There are plenty of positives and negatives to be found with both market leaders. On my revised tissue I have the market leaders as follows:
Rocky Creek 2/1
Houblon Des Obeaux 11/2
Our good form this winter continues. Yesterday we had a 10/1 winner from my only early bet. Special festival memberships are now available. Call low cost on 0844 871 4023 for full details and get a £25 bonus by subscribing today.