Newbury and Doncaster on Saturday

These Veterans’ races are great, aren’t they? It gives a new lease of life to some of these older horses and they’re always so competitive.

I like Theatre Guide for Colin Tizzard at Newbury (14:05) as he’s gone so well at Newbury in the past.

He’s 13 now, so he’s not going to be improving, but he’s honest and showed his wellbeing when he was third in the Veteran’s Final at Sandown earlier this year. A repeat of that run should see him go close.

Le Ligerien caught my eye at Haydock last time out and I think he’ll win again at Newbury tomorrow (14:40).

He wasn’t overly progressive early on in his career, but never really raced on deep ground. He made light work of his rivals in each of his last two starts and both runs were on heavy ground. I think he’s on the up and is one to keep on side with Richard Johnson in the saddle.

Paul Nicholls has a fantastic record in the Greatwood Chase (15:15). He’s won it six times in the past 10 years and has got a strong hand again this year, but I’ve gone for two that I think will run well against his three.

Benny’s King has been consistent this season and, with Dan Skelton’s horses going well, I think he’ll go very well. He jumps well and will be in peak fitness for this test.

Fitness is my one concern for my other pick - Not Another Muddle - who’s having his first run of the season. It’d be some training performance if he were to win this on his seasonal debut, but Gary Moore is a master trainer, so it wouldn’t be the biggest shock if he were to run a blinder.

The Grimthorpe Chase (15:35) is the feature up at Doncaster and in all staying chases you can’t look too far away from Venetia Williams’ horses.

I think her horse Yalltari  will take all of the beating. He’s very good and has plenty of class on his day.

Things didn’t go right for him on his only start this season, but he went off favourite for a competitive handicap at Ascot that day and has obviously been kept fresh for this since. He was third in a grade 2 at Ascot last year and could just be better than this field. 

Leopardstown on Sunday

I’m looking forward to seeing how Charli Parcs does on his first start away from Nicky Henderson’s yard in the 15:05. He was once a very promising young horse who’s clearly had a couple of niggles, but with these race conditions set to suit him he could get his career back on track with Barry Geraghty in the saddle.

It won’t be a big price, but Batcio should take all of the beating for Dad in the 16:10. He was going well when he tripped up last time and was progressive in two starts over fences before that. It’ll be good to see him get back to winning ways.

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