AINCHEA was backed off the boards for a strong contest at Cheltenham last time and was going well before a late error proved costly.
Trainer Colin Tizzard steps him up in distance here, which looks a wise move as there’s plenty of stamina in his family. He looks on a fair mark and has more to offer.
Dolphin Square won as he liked at Ludlow latest and has a big engine under the bonnet. He’s gone up 6lb but should be in the mix again for competent amateur David Maxwell.
One For The Team was a good third at Warwick last month on the back of an excellent second in a good race here. It’s still early days and he doesn’t have much more to find.
Vive Le Roi is proven in this grade and was a solid second in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton latest. He chased home One For The Team on his last visit here and there won’t be much between them again.
J: Harry Cobden
T: C L Tizzard
Newbury – Feb 8th 15:50
This is all about ALTIOR who has been earning rave reviews from his gallops performances.
Trainer Nicky Henderson is adamant that he has his superstar purring again but the truth is even a 75% Altior would be good enough.
His run behind top-class Cyrname when second at Ascot over 2m5f last time was hardly a disaster and the drop back to his favourite distance looks sensible.
He won’t mind if there’s some cut in the ground and really would be a turn-up if he gets chinned in this.
Dynamite Dollars is the potential joker in the pack.
He looked a top prospect when winning a Grade 1 novice contest over this trip at Kempton’s 2018 Christmas meeting.
He then sauntered around Doncaster a couple of weeks later but hasn’t been seen since. Paul Nicholls will have him fit enough after 378 days off and he’s one to watch on this comeback.
Sceau Royal is an honest performer at this level but he was below par when finishing third at Kempton last time.
He was third in the Champion Chase at last year’s Festival and this will tune him up for another crack.
Bun Doran got the better of him in that Desert Orchid chase and has every chance of making the forecast spot today.
J: Nico de Boinville
T: N J Henderson
Newbury – Feb 8th 16:25
NATIVE RIVER surely only has to jump round to win this Grade 2 contest.
He won the Gold Cup in bottomless ground two years ago and, with the wet weather we’re having, could be a live contender next month.
After three fair efforts, including fourth when defending his Cheltenham crown, he came right back to his best when cruising around Aintree to win as he liked in December.
He was clearly helped by blinkers there and sports them again. Ideally he would have the ground softer but his class can see him home in this field.
Might Bite is a real headscratcher these days. I’m sure Nicky Henderson has tried everything with the 2017 King George winner but his recent form is simply awful.
He unseated early on behind Native River at Aintree and ran a stinker over hurdles at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. He can’t be backed at the moment.
Secret Investor is a Grade 2 winner who looks likely to chase the favourite home. This step up in trip could be smart move after he appeared to be outpaced after going well over shorter in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham last time.
|1. Native River|
J: Jonjo O’Neill Jr.
T: C L Tizzard
Newbury – Feb 8th 17:00
CIEL DE NEIGE can land yet another big pot for Willie Mullins. He was third in the Fred Winter at last year’s Cheltenham Festival and has been out just twice since.
There was a rusty comeback at Fairyhouse before an unlucky second at Limerick latest when he finished like a train. He looks on a fair mark for what he’s done and can improve again.
He runs in the famous green and gold of JP McManus as does Never Adapt who was a game winner at Kempton and should progress for Nicky Henderson who has a good record in this race.
Mack The Man won well at Sandown last time and has major claims, especially if the rain comes in time as he loves it soft. Trainer Evan Williams is having a purple patch.
Not So Sleepy is another mudlark who has landed back-to-back wins in style at Ascot. He’s zoomed up the weights but is clearly talented and could outrun the handicapper.
Harambe’s Greatwood Hurdle win bodes well for this cavalry charge and he’ll be trying to finish well off the strong pace.
Thebannerkingrebel ran a good race at Haydock last time and is another who will like plenty of early speed on.
|15. Jockey Silk|
Ciel De Neige
J: Aidan Coleman
T: W P Mullins
Newbury – Feb 8th 17:35
NUBE NEGRA looks the one to beat after his near miss in the Grade 1 Henry VIII at Sandown last time out.
He’s had a little break since that second to a top prospect and ticks all the boxes regarding trip and ground. He travels like a class act and can improve on just his fourth run over fences.
Precious Cargo had to settle for second behind Moonlighter at Newbury last time but should really have won.
He was asked to make up too much ground in the closing stages and couldn’t quite get there. It should be a different story today.
Rouge Vif can’t be ruled out. He has a graded win to his name and was far from disgraced at Kempton last time out.
Torpillo was a little disappointing when a distant fourth behind Nube Negra at Sandown last time. He was well-backed after winning on debut at Warwick and it’s too early to write him off.
|3. Nube Negra|
J: Harry Skelton
T: D Skelton
Warwick – Feb 8th 16:05
INDEFATIGABLE has plenty of experience at this level and can put it to good use. She wasn’t at her very best at Sandown last time when there was a muddling pace on.
Before that she ran a cracked at Cheltenham and went close at Wetherby. This slightly longer trip should help and she’ll be right there.
Copper Gone West finished a place ahead of the tip last time on the back of a game handicap win at Doncaster. She makes the odd mistake but can figure again.
Guardia Top gets a handy weight allowance and was a good second in a Donny Listed race 15 days ago. This is tougher but she gives her all from the front and could take a place at rewarding odds.
Legends Gold made it four wins in five starts when striking comfortably at Ludlow latest. She’s only six and deserves to try her hand in this stronger company. She stays further and that stamina could be an asset.
J: R P McLernon
T: P R Webber
Warwick – Feb 8th 16:40
TWO TAFFS ran out of petrol in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury last time and should be much happier with this big drop in distance.
He travelled nicely for a long way in that classy contest and has dropped to just 1lb higher in the weights than his last win.
Gala Ball won well at Wincanton last time and is just 2lb higher in the weights today. Trainer Philip Hobbs is going well and he should be thereabouts again.
Clondaw Castle has a touch of class and can be forgiven a poor run in the Caspian Caviar at Cheltenham latest. He went close in good company before Ascot before that and is on a fair weight. Belami Des Pictons was poor at Kempton at Christmas when well backed after a cracking fourth in the BetVictor Gold Cup. This trip suits and first-time cheekpieces could work wonders.
|3. Two Taffs|
J: Harry Skelton
T: D Skelton
Warwick – Feb 8th 17:15
12.48 Daphne Du Clos
1.22 Clondaw Promise
1.58 Jack Valentine
2.32 General Girling
3.07 Runasami River
4.17 Lies About Milan
2.05 Nube Negra (treble)
3.15 Two Taffs (nb)
1.15 Chantry House
1.50 AINCHEA (NAP)
3.00 Native River
3.35 Ciel De Neige
4.10 Present Value
1.45 Toro Dorado
2.20 Corazon Espinado
3.30 Never Before
4.40 Queen Constantine
5.00 Caribbean Spring
5.30 Amor Fati
6.00 Chookie Dunedin
6.30 Lets Go Lucky
7.00 Marcela De Vega
7.30 Acclaim The Nation
8.00 Singing Sheriff