Our columnist has been among the winners of late and has high hopes of adding to his score at Newbury this weekend.
The horses have taken a bit of time go get going this season but they’re running well now and it was nice to get a few more winners on the board since last week's column.
Sadly Western Ryder picked up an injury during his novice chase victory at Ludlow and is out for the season. He’s fractured a pedal bone but it’s a clean one and should heal well. It’s frustrating in the short-term but looking further ahead he’s an exciting prospect. I was delighted with how he jumped and he did it well on Monday. He's gaining confidence over fences and getting better with experience.
North Star Oscar is a cash machine at the moment, winning at Huntingdon and then chasing home Chirico Vallis at Ludlow. He’s been a great purchase by his owners and I think there’s more to come. He’s maturing and will get any trip you want. He was going to have a break but is thriving on his racing so we’ll keep him going for now.
It was great to see Keeper Hill follow up his Cheltenham win in the graduation chase at Haydock on Saturday. We’ve switched back to fences with him this term and he’s been great. He’ s a very talented horse and one who stays well. It’s great to have him back on track.
12.15 Newbury, Friday – Symphony Hall
He disappointed me a bit on his return in a bumper at Carlisle last time but jumps very well and is ready to start out over timner. It’s a nice race to get him going in for all it looks a warm contest.
12.45 Newbury, Friday – Encore Champs
He ran a nice race first time back at Fakenham given that would have been sharp enough for him. He’s schooled very well at home since and while he probably wants two-and-a-half miles in time, two will take a bit of getting at Newbury on Friday. He has a nice weight on his back and with the horses hitting form, I’d expect him to run well.
12:05 Newbury, Saturday - Martha Brae
Her jumping at home has been a little bit careful but she won very well at Bangor on her second starts in bumpers. It’s a tough start in a Listed race at Newbury but it’s a good launchpad for her season and she’ll do well through the campaign.
13:50 Newbury, Saturday - Star Of Lanka
He’s a horse I like a lot and he ran really well to finish second on his reappearance at Sandown. He’s come on nicely for that run and he’s possibly my best chance of a weekend winner for all it’s a competitive race. He was fourth in the Lanzarote last season and is a better horse this time around.
15:40 Newbury, Saturday - Dicosimo
He’s in good form but this looks a warm race. He goes well at the track which is a positive and while I wouldn’t know if he’s good enough to win, I can see him going well.
13:20 Carlisle, Sunday - Sunny Express
There’s a question mark over whether he’ll run here as he has other entries but wherever he turns up he’ll go well. He's a nice horse who shaped very well on his hurdling debut at this track earlier in the month.
15:00 Carlisle, Sunday - Trio For Rio
He ran ok over a trip much too short for him at Aintree first time up. I was very pleased with his jumping there and I’d expect improvement on Sunday at a track and over a distance that will suit him well. He’s come on nicely for that first start.