Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Horse Racing: A Weekend to Savour Ahead; in Association with Pagebet

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Horse Racing: A Weekend to Savour Ahead; in Association with Pagebet

Article excerpt

Byline: MOSCROP

WITH the weather seemingly on our side for a change, punters are spoiled for choice today with three jumping meetings all offering some competitive sport.

Ascot takes pride of place with a superb card further enhanced by the Boylesports.com International transferred from Cheltenham last weekend.

With so much firepower, Paul Nicholls has a habit of grabbing the glittering prizes on the big Saturdays, but he hasn't had things all his own way in recent weeks and he may have to take a back seat again.

Nicky Henderson has been taking the leading role and he looks set to dominate proceedings at the Berkshire track. He has two strings to his bow in the Boylesports Hurdle, the progressive mare Chomba Womba, seeking a hat-trick, and the Champion Hurdle favourite Binocular.

A week ago I fancied Katchit to give weight to Binocular at Cheltenham because of his record there and statistics are against four-year-olds winning this event, but I am now swaying towards the Champion pretender to come out on top at a different venue.

Binocular receives 4lb from the reigning champion and, realistically, he has to beat him on these terms to justify his lofty position in the ante-post Festival betting.

Chomba Womba has improved this season with Grade Two wins over the opposite sex at Wincanton and Ascot, including Katchit, and she has to be a serious contender.

Henderson also has a strong hand in the Ladbroke with Aigle d'Or and Sentry Duty.

Both have outstanding claims and my preference is for Sentry Duty after his stylish victory over the course and distance last month.

Henderson should also have a big say in the outcome of the BGC Long Walk Hurdle in which he is represented by Duc de Regniere and Punchestowns.

Tazbar makes a belated reappearance over timber in Haydock's Joseph Heler Cheese Handicap Hurdle. …

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