Paul Callaghan’s Horse Racing Preview – Saturday 6th March
Former jockey Paul Callaghan runs the rule over Saturday’s big races at Newbury, Kelso and Doncaster.
1.50 Newbury. Greatwood Gold Cup (Grade 3) over 2m 4f.
Killer Clown for the trainer/jockey combination of Emma Lavelle and Adam Wedge get the nod in this one. A winner on his last start at Kempton over the Christmas period, Killer Clown received a 15lb hike in the weights from the handicapper for that success, but he was an impressive winner.
This is only his ninth career start in total, and only his fifth start over fences, so there should be more to come.
I fancy Killer Clown to cope with the rise in weights and see off his thirteen rivals.
2.40 Kelso. Premier Chase (Listed Race) over 2m 7f 96y.
I’m siding with the Venetia Williams trained Aso, ridden by Charlie Deutsch. Including Aso, we have got four front runners in the field. However, Aso doesn’t necessarily need to make the running.
He has showed in the past that he can run just as well when sitting handy, as opposed to setting the pace.
The other three, who are prominent in the betting have not. Cloth Cap was a very impressive winner at Newbury on his latest outing. I was surprised at declaration time that connections have chosen to run here, instead of the Grimthorpe at Doncaster.
Definitely Red and Two For Gold also like to go forward, but all three have below par efforts in their copybook, when not being allowed to dictate from the front.
In the anticipation that Cloth Cap, Definitely Red and Two For Gold will take each other on for the lead, I think Aso and Charlie Deutsch can settle where they are happy and pick up the pieces in the closing stages.
Tactically, this is set to be a fascinating contest.
3.15 Kelso. Handicap Hurdle over 2m.
Hunters Call finished fourth behind The Shunter when the pair clashed at The Open meeting, at Cheltenham last November.
He appeared to be absolutely cantering as the field rounded the home turn but looked slightly one paced when coming off the bridle. He’s been placed on his last two starts over longer trips, but I don’t see the him stepping back to 2 miles being a problem.
Two miles at Kelso takes a little bit of getting and it is a long run from the final hurdle, to the winning line.
Hunters Call has a little over 6 lengths to make up on The Shunter, but at Cheltenham, there was 9lbs separating the pair at the weights.
There are only 4lbs separating them here.
It’s a competitive handicap hurdle, with 14 runners taking their chance, but it is Hunters Call who gets my vote.
3.30 Doncaster. Grimthorpe Handicap Chase over 3m 2f.
Maybe not the strongest renewal of the Grimthorpe but it is competitive nonetheless.
Chidswell won this race back in 2019, when beating a fancied Alan King trained runner in Dingo Dollar. That victory came off a rating of 127. He races off 130 here, but Chidswell hasn’t shown anything like that form, since finishing second at Kelso in December 2019.
Yes, he has finished third on two of his last four runs, but he was never dangerous and often lacked fluency in the jumping department.
Canelo, from the Alan King stable and partnered by jockey Tom Bellamy, comes here on the back of a number of decent performances. From his last six outings, he has visited the winner’s enclosure on three occasions.
Canelo finished fourth behind Takingrisks in a Listed Chase over 3 miles at Doncaster at the end of January under Tom Cannon.
However, Tom Bellamy has steered Canelo to two of his last three victories. Canelo brings the best recent form into this race and for me, is a solid selection.