Back Carruthers to raise the roof
Simon Holt previews Saturday's feature action at Newbury and fancies Carruthers to prove a popular winner.
- Related Content
CARRUTHERS, one of the most popular old chasers in training, is fancied to return triumphantly to the scene of his finest hour by landing the Barbury International Supporting Greatwood Veterans Handicap Chase at Newbury.
Successful over the course and distance in the 2011 Hennessy Gold Cup, Mark Bradstock's bold-jumping front runner has been lightly raced in the past 12 months or so but retains plenty of dash - as well as his trademark courage - as he showed in twice winning at Ffos Las last season and then making a bold return to action at Warwick in January when finishing six lengths second to the progressive Shotgun Paddy (Master Overseer pulled up).
The prevailing heavy ground conditions at Newbury look ideal for Carruthers whose top weight of 11st12lb will be reduced by regular rider Nico de Boinville's 5lb allowance and a reproduction of the Warwick effort ought to be good enough.
Typically, in a race of this nature, several rivals here appear to be regressing but, while a yard slower than in the past, Tullamore Dew has run creditably this season and had little chance from some way out of the handicap behind Restless Harry at Ascot last time.
A more than respectable second to Pineau de Re at Exeter previously, Nick Gifford's 12-year-old could be the selection's biggest danger.
Pete The Feat is another who should be thereabouts providing he shows more interest than when pulled up on his most recent outing at Sandown but the formerly smart Burton Port has seemed a light of former days this season and, in the past, seemed better on a sounder surface.
In the featured StanJames.com Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup, SHANGANI could be the pick of the weights following what appeared to be an improved performance in a graduation chase at Kempton last time.
On that occasion, the Venetia Williams-trained gelding ran a brave race going under by three lengths to odds-on favourite Une Artiste who was meeting the selection on considerably better terms than if they had been meeting in a handicap. The winner is a useful mare but Shangani gave her quite a fright, battling on bravely all the way up the home straight.
The handicapper has chosen to distrust that form (there were only two other runners) leaving the selection on the same handicap rating but he wasn't disgraced on slightly higher marks earlier in the season and I am more inclined to believe the form.
Several of these are useful at their best but seemingly out of sorts - the likes of Majala, Nadiya De La Vega and Ulck Du Lin - but Rebel Rebellion will probably run well especially if the fitting of first time blinkers has a positive effect.
Successful in the Grand Sefton Chase over the big fences at Aintree in December, Paul Nicholls' charge appeared to get stuck in the Sandown mud behind Grey Gold subsequently off this mark.
Dashing George is another possibility perhaps after landing a weakly contested chase at Fakenham recently when Elenika, a stable companion of Shangani, started favourite but ruined his chance with a mid-race blunder.
And, while quite well beaten on her last two starts, Tara Rose should be respected on her fair second to Grandad's Horse at Wetherby on her reappearance. The mare runs here following a short break here and seems to perform best when fresh.