Katie Walsh: My picks for the racing this weekend
The Betway ambassador previews the weekend racing at Newbury, Newcastle and Fairyhouse.
What a savage weekend of racing we’ve got in store. We’re going to see plenty of top-class horses and we may even see a few horses that will be winning at the major spring festivals.
Newbury on Saturday
Nina The Terrior (12:10) has to carry a penalty for her success last time, but she was very good and I think she’ll beat them all again. Alan King has his horses in great form, and he’s set for another big weekend.
Mr Incredible (12:40) was only hunting around last time an picked up well form the back of the last before putting the race to bed. I believe that he was nearly supplemented for the Drinmore, which tells you how good they think he is. I’m looking forward to seeing him.
Soaring Glory (14:25) only has three horses to beat and, despite having to concede weight to them all, it should be routine for him. He was electric the last day at Ascot and can continue his road to the Champion Hurdle with a win in this. He’s got to improve to be Champion Hurdle class, but horses with his rating are so tough to place. They either need to improve to get into proper graded races, or they have to lump plenty of weight in handicaps.
I’m looking forward to seeing Eklat De Rire (15:00). He was very well fancied going into Cheltenham and while he might not appear to be too straightforward sometimes, but he’s clearly got a huge engine. His owner is based in England, so it’ll be huge for him to have his Irish trained winner come over to win one of the biggest staying handicap chases of the season. It’ll have to be some performance to win as such an inexperienced horse, but there’s nothing Henry and Rachael can’t win at the moment!
Newcastle on Saturday
I’d love to see Sceau Royal win the Fighting Fifth. He’s been grand this season, looking better than he’s ever done. He loves a flat track, and he loves good ground. He gets his conditions and although he has to give 7lb to Epatante, she has to come back off the back off a largely poor campaign last season.
Fairyhouse on Sunday
Lunar Power was with me as a breeze up and while the favourite Fil D’Or is going to be very hard to beat, there is plenty to like about the way Lunar Power did it last time. He is hardened from plenty of runs on the flat and if he jumps the way he did last time, he could go very close.
My Mate Mozzie was very good at Navan the last day. Couldn’t have asked for much more from him really. I’m not sure if he’ll be right the top of the Irish novice hurdles come the end of the season, but he’s bang up there right now and that is what we have to go on.
His trainer Gavin Cromwell could be having a quickfire double as he trains Gabynako in the Drinmore, who I think could be very good. He was always going to be better chaser than a hurdler, and you couldn’t crab the way he did it last week. It’s another big ride for Darragh O’Keeffe and it would be a great to see him win a grade 1.
Forza Milan ran very well at Cheltenham last time and while his long-term target could be a race like the Kim Muir. He’s got the ability to go well, and I think he’ll love this trip. Gavin Brouder takes off a handy 7lb and you know he won’t mind good ground, either.
The biggest race of the weekend is the Hatton’s Grace. We get to see the wonder mare Honeysuckle make her seasonal debut and there is nothing to suggest that she would get beaten on merit. She’s simply the best horse in this division, however, she is unbeaten in her career and that run is hard to maintain. It’s also her first start of the season, so if she’s ever vulnerable, this could be the time.
Saldier has the benefit of a recent run and was due to run in the Morgiana, so you know he’ll be primed and ready.
They’ll have to both put up career bests to get placed, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see either Stormy Island or Darasso go better than their price suggests.
Magic Tricks was a very good second behind Eskylane last time and gets a little pull in the weights and at the prices, you’ve got to think he has a solid chance of getting placed. He’s been threatening to win a good handicap for a while and he’s the chosen ride of Mark Walsh, too. It’s a competitive race, though and you could pick a few in this who could go close, including Whiskey Sour and Visionarian.
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