PAUL NICHOLLS can extend his lead at the top of the trainers’ championship at Kelso this weekend.
The Ditcheat handler is close to £400,000 clear of Nicky Henderson and on course to land his 11th title. He sends three runners north of the border tomorrow (Saturday) and has targeted the two feature handicaps.
WORTHY FARM bounced back to form when scoring at Ascot last time out and this extreme trip of 3m2f over hurdles at 3.35 looks right up his street.
ADRIEN DU PONT goes over the same trip but over fences in the Liz Adam Memorial Chase at 3pm and can defy top weight and a step up in trip. He was third behind Walt and Double Shuffle in a valuable contest at Kempton a month ago over 3m, and while this distance will be the furthest he has raced over he looks to have too much class for this opposition.
Carrigill’s feel he also has an excellent chance of victory in the juvenile handicap hurdle at 2.40 and make FRIEND OR FOE their popular weekly nap, now a 7/2 shot from 5’s.
Sue Smith’s JOKE DANCER missed the Coral Cup at Cheltenham last week due to unsuitable ground but can make it two from two this season in the 2.25 at the Scottish track, and this lightly raced progressive sort is one to watch in handicaps for the remainder of the Spring.
Jockey Noel Fehily’s illustrious career draws to a close at Newbury tomorrow (Saturday) and he can sign off with a win in the bumper with GET IN THE QUEUE. Fehily and trainer Harry Fry have teamed up to take this contest for the past two seasons, and owners Paul and Clare Rooney opted to swerve the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham last week and come here with this exciting prospect for novice hurdles next year.
The EBF Mares’ Final tops the bill at the Berkshire track and Lucy Wadham’s THE WHITE MOUSE has already seen strong support. But Henderson has won this race four times and has a live contender with the inconsistent SHE MITE BITE. A mark of 119 looks attractive so long as her confidence has not been dented after being brought down at Ludlow last time.
John Quinn’s gelding AL KHERB makes the long journey down from his Malton yard looking to follow up on his win at Catterick last time out, and the handicapper looks to have been more than fair with an opening mark of 123.
It is still early days for LOVENORMONEY over fences but he is worth a market check in the opener at 7lb lower than his highest hurdles mark.
Newmarket trainer John Ryan has carried on the family tradition from his legendary father Mick and is one of my favourite handlers with a knack of placing his small string very adeptly. His lightly raced nine-year-old SHINING ARMOR is back from a spell in Dubai and is expected to be suited to a drop in sprint distances in the Class 2 handicap at 3.45 tomorrow (Saturday) at Lingfield.
Our old favourite NONIOS takes another step towards his target of retaining a valuable Chelmsford handicap at the end of the month when he lines up in the mile handicap at 3.10, and it’s hard to see him not challenging for this lesser affair.
Carrigill’s nap: (money back as a free bet if finishes outside top 4): FRIEND OR FOE, Saturday, Newbury, 2.40.
Augur’s best bet: GET IN THE QUEUE (e/w), Saturday, Newbury, 5.00.