Katie Walsh: Nothing but a win is enough for Jonbon
The Betway ambassador previews the weekend action at Newbury, Warwick and Navan.
Navan on Sunday
It’s Boyne Hurdle Day at Navan on Sunday, which is the day’s best racing in the UK and Ireland.
It was a real pity to not see American Mike last weekend. He’s going to be running this weekend (14:10), though, and he’s going to take all of the beating if he’s back to his best. I think he’s very good and I know connections do, too.
It’s a trial for the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham at 14:40 and I like the look of Saint Sam , who beat out Any Second Now last time. He's only six and I think there's more to come from him. He’s going up in trip again and I think that’ll suit him. He looked like he needed a trip when he was a juvenile a couple of years back, so I think he’ll improve for it now, too. He gets weight from his main rivals as well.
Churchstonewarrior has finished second on all three of his starts this season. He’s been consistent and is obviously improving. I’d keep him on side in the Ten Up Chase (15:40). He’ll then likely be aimed at the Brown Advisory or even the National Hunt Chase next month.
Newbury on Saturday
It’s going to be pretty quick ground at Newbury this weekend, so you’ll need horses who have gone well on a faster surface in the past. Hitman shouldn’t be too inconvenienced by the ground (14:25) and as long as he puts his last run – when he was pulled up in the King George – behind him, he’s the one to beat. He probably didn’t want it as soft as it ended up at Kempton and he made a shuddering mistake, too.
It could be a quickfire double for Paul Nicholls as Greaneteen runs in the Game Spirit Chase (15:00). He won the Betway Haldon Gold Cup before being beaten by Edwardstone in the Tingle Creek. That’s good form and he’ll be putting his claims down for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase here.
We all know how good Emmett Mullins is proving to be as a trainer. He’s got a knack of improving horses and Filey Back is another. He’s been bought by JP and has clearly been trained for this race (15:35), so I think he’s the one to beat. It doesn’t look the best running of this race that I’ve ever seen.
Warwick on Saturday
There are two horses at Warwick I’m looking forward to seeing. The first is Love Envoi at 14:05. She’s run twice and won twice at Sandown this season. She’s a good and improving mare and can put herself well in the mix for the Mares’ race next month with a win.
The other is Jonbon . We saw the Irish challengers for the Arkle last weekend, so now it’s Jonbon’s turn to show us what he’s got. He’s been solid over fences so far and nothing but a win would be good enough for his connections.
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