Simon Holt best bets and tips for Newbury and Doncaster on Saturday

Simon Holt backs The Last Samuri
Simon Holt backs The Last Samuri

The Last Samuri can roll back the years to win the veterans' contest at Newbury, according to Simon Holt. He has two Saturday fancies.

Recommended bets: Saturday March 2

Genuine and consistent mares can be worth their weight in gold and HAPPY DIVA is fancied to supplement some fine efforts this season in the William Hill Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday.

While some of Kerry Lee's horses have failed to fire during the winter, Richard Patrick's mount has kept the flag flying, most notably when chasing home Aso at Cheltenham in early January before winning in decisive fashion against her own sex at Huntingdon last time.

In-between, there was no disgrace in finishing third behind the much-improved Cyrname at Ascot where Happy Diva only lost second in the last strides and finished well ahead of the re-opposing San Benedeto.

Left on the same mark for her Huntingdon win and, with the stable returning to form and Patrick able to claim his 3lb allowance this time, this rock-solid mare who has only once finished out of the first three over fences (when unluckily brought down in the BetVictor Gold Cup in November) looks sure to give us an excellent run for our money.

While Saturday specialist Paul Nicholls is triply represented by Dolos, Warriors Tale and the aforementioned San Benedeto, the bigger danger could be Valdez who, despite being very lightly raced in recent seasons, seems to retain plenty of ability.

Alan King's 12-year-old was far from disgraced when fourth behind Hell's Kitchen at Ascot in December and Janika (second), Movie Legend (third) and Magic Saint (fifth) have all boosted the form since.

What's more, Valdez has run well at Newbury on more than one occasion in the past and is now 11lb lower than his career-high mark.

Earlier, THE LAST SAMURI can lead home a field of old-timers in the William Hill Supporting Greatwood Veterans Handicap Chase.

The 2016 Grand National runner-up (when trained by Kim Bailey) has been hard to place on occasions since but ran a creditable fourth behind Definitly Red in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham just over a year ago and runs off his lowest mark since that heroic Aintree effort.

Now with Harry Fry, The Last Samuri was dropped another 4lb in the ratings after chasing home Royal Vacation in January at Taunton, a sharp, right-handed course which may not have been ideal considering that most of the 11-year-old's best performances have come on left-handed, galloping tracks. Newbury should suit him well.

National-bound Abolitionist is a fascinating rival, reappearing for the first time since winning off a low mark over hurdles at Aintree in early November, while Theatre Guide showed signs of a return to form when chasing home the re-opposing Houblon Des Obeaux (well beaten since) in the veterans final at Sandown in January.

Scottish Grand National winner Joe Farrell runs for the first time since his big win at Ayr last April but has gone well fresh in the past.

Posted at 1445 GMT on 01/03/19.


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