Second-guessing the weather in this country is a dangerous pursuit, but if it stays dry then I’m confident that Paul Nicholls can add to his already impressive record in the Greatwood Gold Cup (3.25pm) at Newbury Saturday.
The champion trainer has won a staggering seven of the 13 renewals of the 2m 3f Chase run to date, including six of the last eight, and can add to those impressive stats with ART MAURESQUE.
Just under 12 months ago, the six-year-old was thought good enough to run in a Grade One at Aintree and even though things didn’t go his way that day, it demonstrates the regard in which he was once held.
He has won three races since, including routing a novice chase field at Cheltenham back in October, and lines up tomorrow from a 3lb lower mark than when last seen in handicap action.
Those last two runs came in the Paddy Power and the Caspian Caviar Gold Cups respectively, where he certainly wasn’t disgraced finishing sixth and seventh.
The ground would have been less than ideal for him on that last run as all his best form seems to be on a sound surface.
At the time of writing, the going on Newbury’s chase course is described as good to soft which would be fine.
However, if it was to ride any slower than that I’d have major concerns and would be more interested in the chances of confirmed soft ground horses like Benny’s Mist and Little Jon.
Charlie Longsdon has his team in really good form at the moment and his WELLS DE LUNE would have to have an excellent chance of following-up last week’s facile Fontwell success.
The five-year-old creeps into the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (2.50pm) unpenalised for that win and will take plenty of catching if reappearing in the same form.
He loved the change in tactics to racing more prominently and I wouldn’t be surprised if he made all once again.
Wells De Lune, 2.50pm, Newbury
Art Mauresque, 3.25pm, Newbury