Newcastle’s Eider meeting takes place this Saturday with naturally enough the totesport Eider Handicap Chase over four miles and one furlong occupying centre stage. Trainer Tony Martin is experiencing a terrific run on domestic soil and it could happen that the Trim-based operator will collect this most prestigious £50,000 contest with Newbay Prop.
On his most recent start, Newbay Prop was sent off favourite when beaten some eight and a half lengths into third spot behind Preists Leap in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park last month. That was still a quite commendable display from Newbay Prop and the eight-year-old looks set to get back on the winning trail here by proving marginally superior to Ferdy Murphy’s lightly-weighted challenger Lucky Nellerie.
The Howard Johnson-trained Percussionist, who did after all have the class to finish a fine fourth in the 2004 Epsom Derby for former handler John Gosden, can show a return to his best form by disposing of Middleton Dene in the totescoop6 Handicap Hurdle and Lease Lend is likely to triumph from Souffleur in the totesport 0800 221 221 Novices’ Hurdle.
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The Channel 4 cameras will additionally be screening four races live from Kempton with the Grade 3 Racing Post Chase the featured event.
Competition is traditionally intense in this coveted three-miler and this year should prove to be no exception with the nod going to Simon. This John Spearing-trained nine-year-old is unquestionably one of the toughest horses in training and he has struck up a wonderful rapport with Andrew Thornton. On his most recent start, Simon unseated at Cheltenham, but he had previously finished an excellent second to Over The Cross in a prestigious handicap chase at the same Gloucestershire track’s December meeting. On this occasion, Simon is likely to excel from Gungadu.
Lead On looks the part in the Grade 2 racingpost.co.uk Pendil Novices’ Chase. Lead On has won his two most recent starts over the larger obstacles and Philip Hobbs’ representative should continue on his merry way here at the expense of Noland.
Striking Article should maintain his unbeaten record by excelling from Oh Crick in the Grade 2 Anglo Irish Bank Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle whilst Binocular can enhance his burgeoning reputation by dismissing Pierrot Lunaire in the Grade 2 Racing Post Adonis Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle.
There are just two Irish meetings over the weekend: Saturday’s fixture is at Fairyhouse whilst enthusiasts will be travelling to Naas on Sunday.
At Fairyhouse, all eyes will be focused on the Grade 2 At The Races Bobbyjo Chase. Snowy Morning posted one of his best ever performances when finishing third to The Listener in the Grade 1 Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Leopardstown on February 10th. If going to post here, Willie Mullins’ Snowy Morning would appear to face a relatively straightforward task and last season’s Royal &SunAlliance Novices’ Chase runner-up should be led back to the coveted number one spot and in all probability, he should have most to fear from Arteea.
Mullins should also collect the afternoon’s other main supporting event in the form of the Grade 2 Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle with C’est Ca.
The British-bred has won his two starts over hurdles to date and he never even remotely came out of second gear when beating Zephyr Lilly in a four-year-old winners hurdle at this same venue on February 2nd. C’est Ca is a horse with genuine Triumph Hurdle aspirations and he can record victory number three over flights by getting the better of Beau Michael.
Good Time Bob is definitely the one for the ‘getting out stakes’ in the Rockview (Q.R.) INH Flat Race.
A point-to-point winner at Dromahane in late-December, Good Time Bob made a hugely pleasing start to his track career by finishing second to Cheltenham festival bumper hopeful Drive On Regardless in a Gowran Park winners contest on Thyestes day – January 24th. The likelihood is that Good Time Bob won’t encounter anything of Drive On Regardless’ calibre here and Philip Fenton’s therefore is recommended to eclipse Definitive Edge.
The Dessie Hughes-trained Deal Maker is put forward to oblige from Powerberry in the Friends Of Sligo GAA Maiden Hurdle whilst Paul Pierce’s stable star Here Comes Sally has Knock On The Head to beat in the Replay at www.attheraces.com Handicap Hurdle.
On Sunday, there will be a couple of Cheltenham festival clues at Naas and Willie Mullins’ outstanding mare J’y Vole should continue on her merry way in the Grade 2 Woodlands Park 100 Nas Na Riogh Novice Chase.
In truth, J’y Vole has been a revelation since being imported from her native France and she has won her only three starts over fences to date. On her most recent outing, the daughter of Mansonnien admittedly did give her supporters a few anxious moments when defeating Big Zeb in the Grade 1 Dr P. J. Moriarty Novice Chase at Leopardstown earlier this month. J’y Vole can extend her winning streak here by disposing of Drunken Disorderly.
Perhaps, Mullins can complete a big-race double as his Cooldine appears to hold outstanding credentials in the Grade 2 paddypower.com Johnstown Novice Hurdle.
This son of Beneficial has won his three most recent starts and indeed, he was never seriously tested when going clear from the penultimate flight to dispose of The Flying Dustman by 28 lengths in a two mile six furlong listed hurdle at Clonmel on February 7th. Whilst competition will undoubtedly be much stiffer here, Cooldine is put forward to score from Rocco’s Hall.
Don’t Be Bitin will surely go close in the Grade 2 paddypowerpoker.com Newlands Chase. This Eoin Griffin-trained seven-year-old showed a return to his very best form by effortlessly casting aside the attentions of Tumbling Dice in the Grade 2 Byrne Group PLC Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown on February 3rd. Raised eight lbs for that display to a new mark of 140, the physically-imposing Don’t Be Bitin should have most to fear from Justified here.
Royal County Star can continue handler Tony Martin’s excellent run by dismissing Middlemarch in the paddypowertrader.com Handicap Hurdle whilst Tom Mullins’ Time Electric, current ante-post favourite for the Cheltenham festival bumper, is likely to eclipse Gonebeyondrecall in the paddypowercasino.com (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race.