Our gossip column is back and expecting another successful Newbury afternoon for Nicky Henderson on Saturday.
1500 Newbury - Ok Corral
Ok Corral can see off quietly fancied stablemate On The Blind Side and win the Ladbrokes Trophy. Nicky Henderson enjoyed a great record in this race under its former banner of the Hennessy Gold Cup and this lightly raced and unexposed nine year old looks to have every chance of giving the five-time champion trainer his fourth success in the race.
Although his progress has been halted by training problems from time to time, OK Corral has offered enough evidence to show he has the class to win this race, and his impressive win over Secret Investor at Warwick last season, suggests he is nicely weighted.
His work on the Lambourn Downs has been very solid in his pre-race build up and he has impressed in his schooling. On The Blind Side should do best of the other three Seven Barrows runners and rates each-way material while there is also a strong message for Emma Lavelle's improving De Rasher Counter.
1205 Newbury - Floressa
Henderson can get the better of his great rival Paul Nicholls with Floressa in the opening Listed mares' novice hurdle. The reigning champ had the better of the Seven Barrows team in this race 12 months ago and have a great chance of following up with Silver Forever this time around after her narrow win over the selection here last month. However, the Henderson mare would surely have won had she jumped the last and given she, unlike her rival, had not enjoyed the benefit of a recent run may improve the most.
1540 Newbury - Whatswrongwithyou
Whatswrongwithyou has not quite fulfilled his potential so far but he can round what could prove a very lucrative afternoon for the Henderson team in the Ladbrokes Handicap Chase. The eight-year-old has undergone surgery to improve his breathing during the summer and returning him to two miles for his first outing should help him settle. Magic Saint will prove the danger on his return to the minimum trip after failing to stay at Cheltenham two weeks ago.
1425 Newbury - Christopher Wood
Nicholls can get the better of a powerful Seven Barrows challenge in the Ladbrokes Limited Handicap Hurdle with Christopher Wood. A winner of two of his four starts and a good third in a Grade One at Aintree last season, he ran well for a long way in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton on his comeback earlier this month. He will be sharper for the run and could reward an each-way interest.
1350 Newbury - Pride Of Lecale
It may pay to take a chance with one-time smart bumper performer Pride Of Lecale in the Get Your Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle. Although very disappointing in a light campaign last term, the bang-in-form Fergal O'Brien was confident he had him spot on for his first outing for new owners, The Noel Fehily Racing Club, and he duly delivered in a relatively low key handicap at Market Rasen 23 days ago.
Despite being a little out of the handicap here, Pride Of Lecale has worked so well since that outing his trainer believes he is worth taking a chance with in this much tougher company and an each-way investment could well bear fruit.
1520 Newcastle - Kulfilum Cross
Henry Oliver has his team in great form and Kilfilum Cross can bring a long held plan to a successful conclusion in the Betfair Rehearsal Handicap Chase at Newcastle. A fair number of trainers have enjoyed the privilege of training this consistent and progressive grey but Oliver has done as well as any and will be hoping Dave Crosse's mount can land this valuable prize.
Connections have had this on their radar for Kilfilum Cross since the start of the season proper and an eye-catching comeback effort in a more than decent handicap at Sratford will have sharpened him up. A smart performer in novice chases last term, he has trained well since the Stratford run and should prove too good for Jonniesofa.
1330 Newcastle - Jammy George
Jammy George improved steadily over hurdles last season and should be ready to break his duck over fences in the Avison Young Novices Limited Handicap Chase. Harry Whittington's gelding won his only race of the campaign here on his final start and has come on for his debut effort over fences at Ascot four weeks ago. He ran on well to finish fifth in that well contested event and should be better suited by this longer trip.
1145 Newcastle - Grazeon Roy
John Quinn knows a thing or two about producing three-year-old hurdlers and Grazeon Roy can give the more experienced Navajo Pass and Roebeam plenty to think about in the Weatherbys Introductory Juvenile Hurdle. The son of Archipenko won the last two races of a relatively light first season on the level and achieved a very useful rating of 85. He stayed a mile-and-a-half well at Southwell and should be able to cope with the testing ground.