Bill Baxter wins the Topham
Bill Baxter in action

Eyecatching entries this weekend including Bill Baxter and Your Own Story

Matt Brocklebank picks out a handful of interesting entries across the cards at Newbury and Kelso this Saturday.

Bill Baxter (Warren Greatrex)

1.55 Newbury – BetVictor Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase

Bill Baxter claimed one of last season’s four victories on this weekend 12 months back and he looks likely to get conditions to suit at Newbury.

The eight-year-old followed up his Kelso success last March in the Topham at Aintree and he has slipped back to a mark just 2lb higher than that for that National meeting triumph.

Last seen finishing eighth at Cheltenham on Trials Day, he filled the same position in what looked another hot renewal of the Coral Trophy and he should be suited by the return to Newbury on Saturday.

Jungle Jack (Donald McCain)

2.50 Kelso – bet365 Morebattle Hurdle

Under Control is arguably the standout entry in this year’s Morebattle but Nicky Henderson recently stated “there wasn’t much point going” if the ground comes up testing and there’s rain in the forecast just about every day there this week.

With that in mind, Jungle Jack has to come into the reckoning as he loves getting his toe in and will be lining up following a back-to-form second over this course and distance in mid-February. He was having his first run since a 90-break for a breathing operation that day and has only gone up 2lb for being beaten a neck.

His record of five wins from 10 starts over hurdles speaks volumes and, as a full brother to Valdez, it’s no great surprise that he evidently loves getting his toe into the ground.

Densworth (Ben Pauling)

3.00 Newbury – Make Your Best Bet At BetVictor Handicap Hurdle

4.50 Doncaster – Get Raceday Ready Handicap Hurdle

Densworth ran a shocker when last sighted but that came in the hugely competitive conditional riders’ handicap hurdle at Aintree last April and he’s well worth monitoring on his belated return to action, especially with the Pauling team in such a rich vein of form.

This seven-year-old had been going well before Aintree, winning novice events at Newcastle and under a penalty at Southwell last March (replay below).

He handles all types of ground and has been dropped 4lb in the weights since the most recent run so there’s every chance he’s well treated if ready to roll after the layoff.

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Your Own Story (Lucinda Russell)

3.25 Kelso – bet365 Premier Chase

A quality – and informative – Listed contest in the making here and plenty of attention will be on Monbeg Genius who ran well for third in the Coral Trophy when last seen at Newbury and now returns to action with his Grand National weight set in stone just last week.

He could also head back for another crack at the Ultima and would have to be of interest if declared here, but that may result in the limelight being taken away from Your Own Story, who was really progressive last year and ended up finishing sixth as the 4/1 joint-favourite in the Scottish Grand National.

He missed an engagement at Carlisle in the autumn so fitness has to be taken on trust but this is the time of year his yard tends to come good and he could be unwise to assume we’ve seen the best of him yet. He's also got a long-term entry in the Midlands National at Uttoxeter.

Chasing Fire (Olly Murphy)

4.00 Kelso – bet365 Cyril Alexander Memorial Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

4.05 Newbury - Follow At Betvictor Novices' Limited Handicap Chase

One-time Sky Bet Supreme fancy (just me? OK, just me...) Chasing Fire has found life tough since beating Pembroke a length on his chasing debut at Uttoxeter in early-October but it was good to see him put in a clear round at Wetherby last time after unseating rider at the first at Aintree on Boxing Day.

That should do his confidence some good as he drops down in class this weekend (options at Kelso and Newbury), while the move back up in trip looks a positive factor too so hopefully he can get back on track for Olly Murphy.

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