Saturday 29TH November
NEWCASTLE – 2.05PM THE StanJames.com FIGHTING FIFTH HURDLE
IRIVING looked all set to win last time out, only to fall at the last and should gain compensation here. He was a classy novice last season and the ground should be ideal for him. The track should also suit him and with Paul Nicholls firing in the big race winners, it is easy to see him winning this, on his way to bigger things.
NEWBURY – 3PM THE HENNESSY GOLD CUP
This looks a cracking renewal and Djakadam is a horse I like a lot and think could progress into a top chaser. It is more about potential than what he has actually achieved on track so far, but he is clearly exciting connections and has been heavily backed in this. He is well handicapped, but lacks experience and it will be fascinating to see how well he performs. Many Clouds won well last time out and fits the profile of a typical Hennessy winner. He will like the ground, stays and has a touch of class and although he went up seven pounds for his win at Carlisle, he has a good chance and should be amongst the first few home. Preference, however is for SMAD PLACE, who loves Newbury (won both starts at the track) and has some very good form to his name, including finishing a close second in the RSA Chase and beating Sam Winner at Newbury in a novice chase, who franked the form by winning well at Cheltenham earlier this month. The main danger to our runners is Rocky Creek as he has the potential to be a top class chaser and things just did not go his way last season. It is worth remembering that Paul Nicholls raved about him after his novice chase campaign, so much so that he was given the box vacated by Kauto Star. He ran well on his seasonal debut, when in need of the run and should be much fitter this time. He also has the ground in his favour this time, whereas last year, it was a little bit quick for him. The stable is also in form, so he has lots going for him and I am expecting a big run from him.