Catching Pigeons: Gossip and tips from the gallops including Kayf Grace in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury

Kayf Grace is fancied in the Betfair Hurdle
Kayf Grace is fancied in the Betfair Hurdle

The hottest gossip column in racing returns with all the information you need to enjoy a profitable weekend's punting.

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Kayf Grace can prove the pick of a powerful Nicky Henderson challenge for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.

The champion trainer has a fine record in this tough race and seems as determined as ever to get his name on the score sheet with five well fancied representatives.

The yard is split as to the best chance among the quintet, and to underline the point Henderson has pinned a notice to the board in the saddle room, promising £100 to anyone able to get the five in the right order.

This has proved popular, but one very confident character observed with tongue firmly in cheek that he is unwilling to volunteer such high quality information for anything less than a grand.

Kayf Grace is the pick of stable jockey Nico de Boinville, and she will do for me, though the other mare Verdana Blue could well be in the shake-up as well, provided the ground does not soften too much with forecast rain.

Kayf Grace has always been very highly rated, and was strongly fancied to win a Grade One last season, only to suffer a training problem just before the race.

She has bounced back very well this season, however, and hosed up in a handicap Henderson loves to win at Kempton over Christmas. She has worked very well in her build-up, and she may be a little better handicapped than one or two of her rivals with so few miles on the clock.

Reigning Supreme, a stablemate of Kayf Grace, is just preferred to Markov in the Betfair Each Way Edge Novices Limited Handicap Chase.

Hendesron has adopted a patient strategy with this very useful novice hurdler, and his jumping was not what was required on his fencing bow at Kempton in December. Plenty of work has been carried out since, but the fact that he now steps up to three miles will also aid his cause. He looks nicely weighted, and the fact the weights have gone up with the defection of Fountains Windfall should also be appreciated.

Bastien should have won more than just the one race so far this season and he looks the value bet in a very open Betfair Cash Out Handicap Hurdle. Alan King has his team in good heart at the moment, and there is plenty to like his sole win at Towcester. He was still bang there when falling at the last in what looked a very good Pertemps qualifier at Wincanton on Boxing Day and he has been freshened up since.


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The Super Saturday Racing Podcast


Saint Calvados has looked a very smart recruit for Harry Whittington since his arrival from France and he will have ground conditions to suit in the Grade Two Betway Kingmaker Novices Chase at Warwick.

Both his victories so far have been at Newbury, with precise safe jumping the feature, and he won with plenty in hand on each occasion. He looked to have improved from his first win at the New Year meeting six weeks ago and he looks ready for the step up in grade.

Woolstone One can follow up her cosy win at Doncaster in the listed OLBG.com Mares Hurdle. Emma Lavelle's six-year-old has her own mind about how to do things, but has plenty of ability and will be able to handle the very soft ground better than most if the forecast rain materialises. Gavin Sheehan takes the ride before heading back to home turf to take in the last two races at Newbury and gets on with her well.

Reckless Wave has shown his liking for Wolverhampton in the past and should want plenty of beating on his return to action in the Betway Handicap.

Ed Walker's five-year-old enjoyed a decent campaign in what was a light 2017 season and showed, when dead-heating on his first appearance, that he can win after a lengthy break. His trainer has secured Luke Morris for the ride and he looks to have a solid each-way chance in an interesting heat.

Kimberella just missed out on his comeback at Lingfield last week, but this hardy type returns for his second outing of the year in the Betway Handicap, and another big run is anticipated. This step back to five furlongs should suit, he was a little gassy last week, and he can the quick turnout should pose no problems.

Jamie Osborne is always a man to note when he has a runner in plating company and he should go close with Laytown on his first outing in the lowest company in the 32Red Casino Selling Stakes.

He has proved a consistent sort at novice and handicap level, and should appreciate the drop in class and the return to seven furlongs after a solid effort over six at Kempton last time.

Ben Pauling has his team back in great form and Delire D'Estruval should underline the point in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle qualifier at Exeter on Sunday.

He has not raced since a below par-effort at Plumpton in December, but had previously won a Listed event in the heavy at Haydock, and is best judged on that performance.

Underfoot conditions will be similar here and he should just prove too good for Nicky Henderson's Kempton disappointment Charming Zen.

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