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SOME brilliant racing this weekend headed by the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury at 3pm and I fancy a massive run from Royal Vacation (nap).
Colin Tizzard’s charge is probably best known for his victory in last year’s Kauto Star Novices Chase at Kempton when he took advantage of Might Bite’s departure.
Following that run, the son of King’s Theatre slammed another of today’s rivals, Potters Legend, in the Timeform Novices Chase at Cheltenham before two poor runs back at Prestbury Park and Sandown when he didn’t jump well but was considered over the top by connections.
However, Tizzard expressed himself more than happy with his comeback run at Wetherby behind Guitar Pete over an inadequate two-and-a-half miles, which should have put him spot on for this tough assignment.
Of course, he will need a career-best effort to even go close in this fabulous contest, but his January form at Cheltenham would put him right in the mix in what looks a wide-open affair.
Of his rivals, the Willie Mullins pair Total Recall and Pleasant Company must be respected. The former hosed up in the Munster National but has gone up appreciably in the weights, while the latter was a fine ninth in the Aintree National last back end.
American may want a bit more give in the ground, but I can see the likes of A Genie In Abottle and Singlefarmpayment both running well over this stamina, sapping three-and-a-quarter miles.
Elsewhere on the card, Cap Soleil may continue her amazing winning run in the opening mares event at 12.10, while I also have a sneaking suspicion that the well-handicapped Baby King can get his jumping together in the valuable extended two-and-three-quarter-mile chase at 3.35.
At Newcastle, the big race of the day is the Unibet Fighting Fifth Hurdle at 2.10 and the reigning Champion Hurdler Buveur D’Air should see off the likes of former winner Irving and mud-lark Flying Tiger.
Later on, at 3.20, the Rehearsal Chase can go the way of Wakanda. He got back on track on his seasonal debut when second to As De Mee at Kelso and off a 2lbs lower mark should go close here with perhaps the hat-trick-seeking Sam Red his biggest rival. The drying ground at the Gosforth Park track is a big plus for him.
At Doncaster, Just Milly looks the call in the 2.20 off what looks a very fair mark, while I also like the look of Kings Cross in the staying hurdle at 2.55.
Finally, there are some good prizes up for grabs under the lights at Wolverhampton where Towerlands Park (nb) should take all the beating in the extended nine-furlong handicap at 7.45.
He was strongly fancied in the November Handicap but didn’t get home that day and the return to an artificial surface looks spot on for this lightly raced four-year-old.
He has been given a short break to get over that run and I know he is expected to leave that form way behind here.
Apple’s Jade — 1.30 Fairyhouse (nap)
Death duty — 2.35 Fairyhouse
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