ITV Racing Saturday Newbury & Warwick Preview 2023

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Warwick - February 11 2023
Warwick 13:30
Theo Gillard


J: Theo Gillard
T: Donald McCain
Age: 8
Weight: 11-3
OR: 143
Days: 15

The first race of the afternoon at Warwick on ITV this weekend is the Handicap Chase over 2m4f and although five runners go to post it is a competitive one.

With that in mind we have had a go at one at a bigger price and Mackenburg for Donald McCain getting back to his preferred trip can't be overlooked at 8/1.

Always a consistent character, this term he has been seen three times, winning his first two Handicap Chase events at Ayr and Doncaster at the end of 2022 off 137 and 143.

Dropped back in trip last time out at Doncaster off 144 he ran a good race albeit finishing back in five, but he was only 6 1/2 lengths behind the winner, with other smart horses in behind.

Dropped 1lb for that run and back in trip to the distance he was seen winning over two starts ago, he is getting a lot of weight off the favourite and with ground conditions suiting he has plenty going for him.

Newbury - February 11 2023
Newbury 13:50
Eddie Edge

Regarding Ruth

J: Eddie Edge
T: Lucy Wadham
Age: 9
Weight: 11-3
OR: 128
Days: 645

The first runner of the afternoon from Newbury is the three mile Handicap Hurdle and at a double figure price Regarding Ruth for Lucy Wadham has a big chance in what looks a weak race.

A smart performer at the back end of last season when bumped up to three miles on good ground at Newbury over course and distance, beating Welsh Grand National and Warwick Classic Handicap Chase winner Iwilldoit easily off a mark of 120.

Dropped down in trip at Cheltenham in April in a Listed Mares Handicap Hurdle she showed she needed to go back up in trip when only fourth of nine and then back up to 2m7f when last seen in May at Market Rasen, she got back to winning ways in fine style.

She is only 1lb higher for her first race of the season and having proven form on quick ground if overcoming the time off the track she should go close.

Eddie Edge taking off 10lb aswell could be huge.

Warwick - February 11 2023
Warwick 14:05
Jonathan Burke

Love Envoi

J: Jonathan Burke
T: Harry Fry
Age: 7
Weight: 11-6
OR: 147
Days: 35

One of the first big events of the afternoon from Warwick sees the Listed Mares Hurdle over 2m5f and Love Envoi is certainly the one to beat, albeit this will be one of her toughest tests of the season so far.

Love Envoi for Harry Fry and owners Noel Fehily Racing Syndicate was a revelation last season making her debut at Leicester in December when winning nicely over 2m 4 1/2f.

Seen five more times before the end of the season the mare went on to win four nice events including two Grade Two events, one of them being the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival.

Looking to round out the season in a Grade One at Fairyhouse, she bumped into the fresh Brandy Love for Willie Mullins and had to settle for second in the Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final.

Dropped back into a handicap for her seasonal debut off 139, she took on the boys and put up a serious weight carrying performance to win the race in determined fashion.

chucked into an easier event last time out at Sandown in another Listed Mares Hurdle, especially getting weight off last years winner Martello Sky, she went on to bolt up putting away the field by 13 lengths.

This is tougher with Theatre Glory a good horse but only giving her 2lb should see her go close again.

Newbury - February 11 2023
Newbury 14:25
Brendan Powell

Eldorado Allen

J: Brendan Powell
T: Joe Tizzard
Age: 9
Weight: 11-8
OR: 162
Days: 47

The first Grade Two of the afternoon from Newbury is the Denman Chase over 2m 7 1/2f and we are taking on the favourite Hitman with last years winner Eldorado Allen.

A superb winner of this race last season seeing off proven stayers in Royale Pagaille and Clan Des Obeaux, the field he takes on in this race you can argue are not at the same standard over staying trips.

He finished the season with a good third back down in trip in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham festival, but he finished the season at Aintree when his run in the Betway Bowl came too soon.

Put away after that and returning this term he ran a blinder on seasonal debut in the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase behind King George winner Bravemansgame and then next time out he didn't disgrace himself again when second to Protektorat in the Grade One Betfair Chase.

Last seen taking his chance in the Grade One King George VI Chase, he was a well beaten fourth behind Bravemansgame, never really getting involved.

Having never ran well at Kempton in his career he might not of handled the track and back over a course and distance he is proven on he should go close again.

This is not the best renewal of this race in the world and although having to give weight away to Hitman, for us it is unproven whether he does stay the trip and is good enough at it and for that reason the best of a bad bunch to take him on with is last years winner Eldorado Allen.

Warwick - February 11 2023
Warwick 14:40
Aidan Coleman


J: Aidan Coleman
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 7
Weight: 11-7
OR: 159
Days: 70

The final event on ITV from Warwick sees Jonbon strut his stuff for the final time before the Cheltenham festival in the Grade Two Kingmaker Novices' Chase.

A £570,000 purchase and full brother to the top class hurdler Douvan, Jonbon was an easy 15 length winner of his Irish PTP and subsequently went on to cosily land his sole bumper start on his first run for Nicky Henderson.

He then marked his debut over obstacles at Newbury, on the back of a 244 day break, with a cracking performance, winning by an eased down six length margin in November this year.

He stepped up in grade next time at Ascot in the Grade Two Kennel Gate Novices' Hurdle and again was an easy winner and then sent to Haydock on his prep run before the Cheltenham festival he was a determined winner of the Grade Two Supreme Trial.

His only defeat under rules came at the Cheltenham festival when second behind the superstar Constitution Hill, but he showed just how good he was on his final start of last term when landing the first Grade One of his career at Aintree in the Top Novices' Hurdle.

Bought to be a chaser, Henderson gave him his debut over fences at Warwick on his seasonal debut this term and he looked an improved animal once more when bolting up at Warwick seeing off Grade One winner Monmiral and smart hurdler West Cork to win by seven lengths eased down.

Stepped up to Grade One company when last seen in December he again bolted up and landed the Henry VIII Novices' Chase from Boothill, who has since won and placed in decent Grade Twos.

Jonbon is a class above this field and he is a short price for a reason with this a perfect prep ahead of the Arkle, where he will need to give a career best to take on the likes of El Fabiolo.

Haddex Des Obeaux should pick up the pieces in second.

Newbury - February 11 2023
Newbury 15:00
Harry Cobden


J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 9
Weight: 11-8
OR: 170
Days: 70

The final Grade Two of the afternoon from Newbury is the Game Spirit Chase where Greaneteen for Paul Nicholls is rated to be a class above this field.

Greaneteen is a solid contender for this event having some superb Sandown form and off the back of his weight carrying seasonal debut at Exeter he looks an even better horse this term.

Second in this event on his first try back in 2020, he then finished that season over the same C&D when landing the Grade One Celebration Chase.

Making his seasonal debut last term in the Haldon Gold Cup when not being able to give the weight away, he improved massively for the run to land this event from stablemate Hitman.

Second in the Desert Orchid at Christmas behind Shishkin, he then went to the Dublin Racing Festival in February and ran no race in the Dublin Chase.

Back at Sandown for his final run of the season he made it back to back wins in the Grade One Celebration Chase and a hat-trick of wins over C&D.

Normally needing the run on seasonal debut, he looked fitter than ever at Exeter in the Haldon Gold Cup giving mountains of weight away and he went on to bolt up with ease.

Nicholls can't have him in any better form last time out ahead of the Grade One Tingle Creek looking to land the race for a second time but he bumped into a primed Edwardstone who he chased home for second.

Given some time since then he returns in this event and if in the same form not having to give any weight away to last years winner Funambule Sivola, his price suggests he can't get beat and he shouldn't

Newbury - February 11 2023
Newbury 15:35

Hacker Des Places

T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 6
Weight: 11-8
OR: 137
Days: 14

The final event of the afternoon is the 18 runner Betfair Hurdle over 2m 1/2f and with a huge field going to post we have picked out two runners at each way prices to note down.

The first is the Paul Nicholls trained Hacker Des Places who has been targeted for this race off the back of his win last time out.

A very consistent horse for Nicholls last season when running six times, winning two of them and placing in another two.

Needing his seasonal debut last term at Kempton over Christmas, he then went to Lingfield at the Winter Millions meeting and finished a fair fourth behind Metier on heavy ground.

Off a mark of 129 he got back to winning ways at Chepstow again on heavy ground and then at Sandown in March he finished a superb third of 22 in the Grade Three Imperial Handicap Hurdle off 4lb higher.

Sent into another big fielded handicap, this time at Aintree's Grand National he landed a valuable 16 runner event off the same mark of 133.

Seen just once this season at Ascot up to a mark of 138 he was second behind the talented Highway One O Two, who has since ran well in Grade One company.

Hacker Des Places then went to Cheltenham on Trials Day and landed a good Handicap Hurdle from Might I off 137 over 2m1f.

Getting back to his preferred good ground and only 5lb higher for this event he is very hard to overlook, with Nicholls explaining he would have come on for his latest run.

Newbury - February 11 2023
Newbury 15:35
Gavin Sheehan

Highway One O Two

J: Gavin Sheehan
T: Chris Gordon
Age: 8
Weight: 11-9
OR: 143
Days: 47

Following a similar form line but at a bigger price of 20/1 Highway One O Two represents a bit of class in the field and should be able to give weight away to the field.

Second on seasonal debut this term at Fontwell by a head giving almost a stone away, he then went to Ascot on good ground and belted a good field off 135, with Hacker Des Places back in second nearly eight lengths behind him.

Upped to 143, Chris Gordon chucked him into the Grade One Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and he finished a good third behind Constitution Hill and Epatante.

Only 23 1/2 lengths behind the Nicky Henderson superstar and 6 1/2 lengths behind Epatante who has since gone on to bolt up at Doncaster, he does have to give weight away in this field but he has proved in the past in handicaps he can throw out a good weight carrying performance.

He gets his ideal good ground again and currently the trainer is running at a 42% strike rate for the last two weeks.

Big chance at a double figure price.