Nicky Henderson - fine record in Newbury feature

Catching Pigeons gossip column: Weekend best bets


Our top gossip column returns and expects Mister Coffey to enhance Nicky Henderson's fine record in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Sunday.

2.25 Ascot - Newtide

Kim Bailey has his team in great form at present and he can strike with Newtide in the My Oddsboost On Betfair Swinley Limited Handicap Chase at Ascot on Saturday.

Not too far off the best staying novices last season, he may have been a fortuitous winner of the Grade 2 Towton Chase on the second of his two victories during the light campaign, but there was no fluke in his defeat of Secret Reprieve on his chasing bow at Ffos Las.

That rival has been one of the great success stories this term with an emphatic win in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow last month. New Tide has been somewhat becalmed since his win in Yorkshire and has seen action just once this term, a slightly disappointing effort at Haydock in November. However he has since undergone corrective surgery on a breathing complaint and the fact he arrives here a fresh horse may now be an advantage.

4.10 Ascot - Revels Hill

Revels Hill looks nicely weighted in the Ascot Racecourse Supports Berkshire Vision Handicap Hurdle. There were some long faces after this Harry Fry-trained six-year-old followed a respectable comeback effort with a disappointing performance at Chepstow on his second outing.

However that was all put firmly behind him when he bounced back with a very good fourth to Stellar Magic in a competitive novice at Taunton on his latest start. This more demanding test of stamina should provide no terrors for the former point-to-point winner and he looks nicely weighted for his handicap debut.

3.00 Ascot - L'Ami Serge

L'Ami Serge may be getting a bit long in the tooth but he can still show the well fancied Gladiateur Allen and the rest a thing or two in the Betfair Cheltenham Free Bet Pot Builder Handicap Hurdle.

If it were not for the fact that he never likes to hit the front too soon, he would probably be a little more than a dual Grade 1 winner by now but he can still pack a punch and has a long history - he has never finished out of the first two for Seven Barrows on his seasonal debut - of being very effective after a break.

Two below-par efforts at Cheltenham after his excellent comeback second to The Worlds End in last season's Long Walk Hurdle, plus, perhaps, his advancing years, have seen him receive some sympathy from the handicapper and the likely testing ground coupled with his proven stamina, could see him reward a sporting each-way investment.

2.40 Haydock - Enqarde

The improving Enqarde can take advantage of his light weight in the William Hill Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Haydock. Dr Richard Newland has found many a useful performer from the French jumping arena and looks to have unearthed a very promising young stayer in this son of Kapgarde, who broke his duck over British fences with a comfortable win in a three mile handicap at Ascot last month.

This will be a much more difficult task, especially with the progressive Notachance among a strong field of experienced handicappers, but he gave every impression he would stay this more exacting trip and will have no problem handling the very soft ground.

1.30 Haydock - Farinet

Venetia Williams is even more renowned for her purchases from across the Channel and Farinet could be worth an each-way interest on his British debut in the williamhill.com Best Odds Guaranteed Novices' Limited Handicap Chase.

The winner of a juvenile hurdle at Auteuil, he has not managed to get his head in front so far over fences but has run some good races in defeat and looks to have been given a chance by the British assessor.

2.05 Haydock - Emitom

Emitom is another on the comeback trail after a wind problem and can book his Cheltenham Festival trip with a repeat victory in the Grade 2 William Hill Rendlesham Hurdle. This looks a tougher renewal for the seven-year-old as he has been on the sidelines since a very disappointing effort over fences at Ffos Las in the autumn. However Warren Greatrex is confident he has him back in very good form and he has been working with his old zest on the Lambourn Downs recently.

3.35 Newbury Sunday - Mister Coffey

Nicky Henderson has enjoyed more success in the Betfair Handicap Hurdle than any other trainer and looks set to extend his winning record to six with Mister Coffey at Newbury on Sunday.

The champion trainer has had this race in mind for a very long time for the selection who has a touch of class but can be too keen for his own good. A smart novice last season and an impressive winner on his handicap debut at Sandown in November, he found little after a mistake two out on his return to the Esher course the following month, proving a shade disappointing in finishing third to Benson.

That performance suggests he has plenty to prove but he was asked to come from well off the pace in desperate ground that day and the competitive nature of this event should help him to settle better. He has been in very good form at home and looks the pick of three Seven Barrows hopefuls. Mention should also be made of bang-in-form Chris Gordon's pair of Annual Invictus and Highway One Or Two, who should both run well at each-way prices.

4.45 Newbury Sunday - Horn Cape

Horn Cape, a winner at Argentan before joining Henderson, has been working particularly well in the build up to his eagerly awaited British debut and should give some quality opponents plenty to think about in the Read Tony Calvin's Tips On Betting.Betfair National Hunt Flat Race.

1.15 Newbury Sunday - Nobby

Nobby showed plenty in classy bumpers a couple of years back and has always been held in high regard by Alan King. He makes his debut over timber in the Betfair Novices Hurdle and could well run well at a fancy price, despite his long injury lay-off. Whatever happens here, he is one to note for the future.

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