Paul Nicholls: Couldn't be happier with top class Greaneteen ahead of Betfair Super Saturday

Paul Nicholls and Greaneteen
Paul says he couldn't be happier with Greaneteen ahead of Betfair Super Saturday

Paul Nicholls is sending some of his big guns to Newbury for Betfair Super Saturday and the Betfair Ambassador has a strong hand in some of the day's feature races...

  • Hitman is in great shape ahead of Betfair Denman Chase

  • Couldn't be happier with 'top class' Greaneteen

  • Two solid each-way chances in the Betfair Hurdle

  • No significance in jockey bookings for closing bumper

  • In top order ahead of spring campaign

    13:15 - Holetown Hero

    He runs here five days after winning tidily at Taunton on Monday for the second time. He didn't have a hard race that day, has come out of it bouncing, enjoys fast ground and has a decent chance now that the field has cut up.

    Newbury ground will suit

    13:50 - Barbados Buck's

    He just needed the outing when he ran very well at this course in November on his first start after a wind op in the summer and again finished third at Wincanton on Boxing Day. He will enjoy the good ground at Newbury and hopefully has a nice chance.

    Drier ground will help but needs to show more

    13:50 - Flemenstide

    He was off for a while with a problem or two, clearly hated the heavy ground on his return at Chepstow at the end of last year and was eventually pulled up. I'm hoping that much drier conditions at Newbury will bring out improvement from Flemenstide who does needs to show more.

    In great shape and has a solid chance

    14:25 - Hitman

    We fancied him a bit in the King George at Kempton but it didn't happen for him there and he was always on the back foot after a bad mistake at the 11th fence. He also had a minor bleed.

    I've put a line through that rare blip because he is in great shape now and he won on this card two years ago on good ground.

    I think three miles on decent ground is just what Hitman wants. He needs to be bowling along up with the pace and gets a handy 6lbs from last year's winner Eldorado Allen. Solid chance.

    Kept him away from winter ground and I couldn't be happier

    15:00 - Greaneteen

    This is an ideal prep race for the Champion Chase at Cheltenham which looks quite open this year. I couldn't be happier with Greaneteen who was so impressive in the Haldon Gold Cup before finishing second to Edwardstone at Sandown early in the Grade 1 Tingle Creek early in December. I've deliberately kept him away from the worst of the winter ground and couldn't be happier with him.

    Flat track will suit him fine

    15:35 - Hacker Des Places


    He surprised me a little bit last time by running a blinder to win a really competitive handicap at Cheltenham. That earned him a 5lbs penalty for this race so it helps that his regular rider Angus Cheleda claims 5lbs. While I wasn't sure Hacker Des Places would act round the contours of Cheltenham I feel the flat track at Newbury will suit him fine as he was very good at Aintree. Decent each way chance.

    On a fair mark and has lots of speed

    15:35 - Rubaud

    He is a lovely prospect who hacked up twice at a Taunton before finishing second to the highly rated Rare Edition at Kempton over Christmas. Good ground is ideal for Rubaud whose handicap rating of 130 looks a nice mark compared to some of our other smart youngsters. He has loads of speed and novices have a good record in this race.

    Decent chance after Monday's win

    16:10 - McFabulous

    Ground conditions are key to McFabulous who finished tired when second at Kempton on testing going and like several horses didn't jump with his usual fluency because of shadows at some fences. I don't think he was right that day. That can happen sometimes but he is in top order now, fresh again, will love the ground at Newbury and is ready for a spring campaign.

    Has come on for debut win

    16:43 - Fire Flyer

    I run two nice prospects in the bumper and they should both go well though I can't stress enough that there is no significance in the jockey bookings. Lorcan Williams won on Fire Flyer on his racecourse debut in his bumper late in October at Ascot so it makes sense for him to keep the ride. Fire Flyer was staying on strongly at the finish that day and has come on for the run. He is in a different yard to Meatloaf and they have never worked together.

    Unlucky last time

    16:43 - Meatloaf

    Harry Cobden has partnered Meatloaf in both his races so I made the decision that he should ride him again here. Meatloaf won readily on his racecourse debut at Wincanton early in December and then was unlucky to be chinned on the line in a Listed bumper on New Year's Day at Cheltenham where he made most of the running until caught in the last few yards.

    Best Chance:

    Greaneteen. 15.00. "He's top class and conditions are in his favour."

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