Following the success of Tidal Bay in the Lexus yesterday, it's a relatively quiet Saturday for Paul Nicholls with just three runners at Newbury. Read the Betfair Ambassador's exclusive thoughts here...
13:35 Newbury - Bury Parade
Has joined us from Robert Bewley after Highclere bought him at the Cheltenham sales last month. And he certainly looks a very welcome addition to the yard. Clearly, we haven't had him long but he looked impressive on his chasing debut over 2m in the soft at Carlisle, beating the smart Super Duty by two lengths, where in Timeform's words he "jumped impeccably." This looks a tougher race obviously - and we have to give 7lb to the very smart hurdler Colour Squadron - but he deserves to take his chance to see where we stand. He goes well enough at home but he is no morning glory; however, what he has already done on the track is clearly encouraging.
14:45 Newbury - Easter Day
Is really improving with his racing and looked impressive when winning by four lengths at Ascot last time. He has continued to please me at home since and that run told us that he stays this trip really well and that testing ground isn't a concern. It may be a big leap up to Grade 1 company, but this race has cut up to just six runners - albeit including some potentially high-class novices - and I immediately had this race in mind for him after his Ascot win.
15:15 Newbury - Salubrious
It is a little disappointing when you are beaten six lengths and are raised 4lb by the handicapper - and that is the case with Salubrious after his defeat by At Fishers Cross here last time. I suppose I was half-expecting it after the winner followed up at Cheltenham next time. But, on the reverse side, the third horse home at Newbury, Ardlui, didn't do too much for the form at Wincanton on Boxing Day. But we are where we are, we were very happy with his Newbury run and Harry takes 5lb off today. And I think the step back up in trip will suit him too.
This is clearly a very competitive contest - and the likes of Bakbenscher will prove difficult to beat with his 6lb penalty win for his Haydock win last Saturday - but Salubrious is lightly-raced and hopefully will continue to progress. In fact, I'd like think to think he will go close here.