Luke for value with Jonnie
Chris Wilson provides a tip for every race on Saturday and fancies Jonnie Skull in the last at Wolverhampton.
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FAIRYHOUSE: 12.10 Endless Intrigue, 12.45 Rigour Back Bob, 1.20 Far Away So Close, 1.55 Mikael D'Haguenet, 2.30 Beef To The Heels, 3.00 Bog Warrior, 3.30 Owen Mc
NEWBURY: 12.15 Minella Stars, 12.50 Call Me A Star, 1.25 Global Power, 2.00 Big Buck's, 2.35 Star Of Angels, 3.10 TIDAL BAY (NAP), 3.40 Gus Macrae
NEWCASTLE: 12.05 Same Difference, 12.35 Beau Dandy, 1.10 Bit Of A Jig, 1.45 Billy Cuckoo, 2.20 Trifolium, 2.50 Lord Wishes, 3.25 Benny Be Good
TOWCESTER: 11.55 Bright Light, 12.25 Financial Climate, 1.00 Ibn Hiyyan, 1.35 Molly Oscar, 2.10 Shotgun Paddy, 2.45 Borderhopper, 3.15 Calusa Star
WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.50 Jermatt, 6.20 Lager Time, 6.50 White Fusion, 7.20 Super Say, 7.50 Compton Bell, 8.20 Bellitudo, 8.50 Renoir's Lady, 9.20 Jonnie Skull
DOUBLE: Tidal Bay and Trifolium
Tidal Bay can provide Paul Nicholls with a first Hennessy Gold Cup since the great Denman struck for a second time three years ago.
'Enigmatic' and 'mercurial' became well-worn epithets whenever this 11-year-old stepped on to a racecourse for previous trainer Howard Johnson, for whom he invariably lurched from the sublime to the ridiculous.
But following an inauspicious start for new connections, Nicholls looks to have finally ironed out enough of his kinks to put him bang in contention for Newbury's race of the season.
Tidal Bay arrives in Berkshire in pursuit of a hat-trick, with a runaway victory in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April supplemented by a splendid success in the John Smith's Hurdle at Wetherby upon his return.
Like Denman, Nicholls' inmate must shoulder top weight of 11st 12lb in the Hennessy.
That is not ideal, of course, but it is more about his frame of mind than the size of the burden - as ably demonstrated at Sandown.
The demanding conditions also play to his considerable strengths as the 2008 Arkle winner has often had a fondness for a skirmish in the mud.
Bobs Worth aside, this year's Hennessy does not look a vintage renewal, so it seems logical to support one of the classiest horses in the line-up - even though his followers could be in for yet another harem-scarem afternoon.
Big Buck's' chances of winning the Sportingbet Long Distance Hurdle for a fourth consecutive time are far more obvious.
Nicholls' astounding hurdler will be no sort of price for this Grade Two over three miles as he bids for an 18th consecutive victory.
Regardless of what the ground is like, it will be one of the shocks of the season if that remarkable sequence comes to a halt at Newbury.
Newcastle officials have done superbly to keep the show on the road give the heavy rain which has afflicted that part of the world over the last week.
Trifolium can be the chief benefactor as he is taken to strike for Ireland in the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
Trainer Charles Byrnes is one of the shrewdest operators around, and seldom sends his horses to England without just cause.
That was neatly illustrated at Kempton on Monday when Knockfierna won a mares' Listed race at Kempton.
Trifolium should also not be jolted off his stride by the heavy ground after having been successful three times in a quagmire.
Although he was disappointing on his last start at Punchestown in October, he has since undergone a wind operation.
In any event, the five-year-old Grade Two-winning novice hurdler is already not far short of being top class, having finished just a length and a half behind the reopposing Cinders And Ashes in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
Donald McCain's five-year-old is admittedly a worthy favourite, but Trifolium would not have to improve a great deal to reverse the Cheltenham form, especially as he has already had the benefit of a run this term.
Oliver Sherwood's horses could not be in ruder health, so now might be the time to invest in Financial Climate, who contests the Aspers Casino Northampton Beginners' Chase at Towcester.
The five-year-old was spotted making late gains over two miles on his fencing debut at Uttoxeter, where he finished fourth behind the well-regarded Saphir River.
He should be a lot more savvy this time, while this longer trip will also be helpful if his winning form over hurdles is factored into the equation.
White Fusion can make a successful debut for David O'Meara in the 32Red Handicap at Wolverhampton.
The four-year-old grey made a reasonable fist of things over hurdles for former trainer Andrew Crook, but has form on the all-weather, having finished second at Southwell last January.