Relax tipped to reign at Newcastle

It’s Eider Chase day at Newcastle on Saturday, with the 4m 1f handicap chase over 4m 1f at 2.55 likely to prove a real slog under anticipated heavy going, which has become the norm of late rather than the exception.

David Pipe’s Junior, although 11 and a 14/1 shot, is still a force to be reckoned with, while Brian Ellison’s Presented, 10/1, will be a popular choice at his local track. However, Venetia Williams can do little wrong at the moment and her nine-year-old Relax, available at 7/1, could well set the pulses racing.

At Kempton Park, Paul Nicholls’ Bury Parade is the 7/2 favourite for the 3m handicap chase at 3.50, with Nicky Henderson’s Rajdhani Express, 10/1, also likely to improve on his seasonal debut. However, Philip Hobbs’ Planet Of Sound, 9/1, is no back number, even though now a 12-year-old.

On the all-weather at Lingfield, the highlight is the Winter Derby Trial over 1m 2f at 2.40. Robin Hood’s Bay is one for the shortlist, while in the Sprint Series final over 6f at 3.25, I can’t see past Roger Charlton’s in-form Random Success, with an old favourite Parisian Pyramid having an each-way squeak at a decent price.

Early Grand National fancy Teaforthree ran a cracker when finishing second at Ascot last Saturday and now heads the ante-post market at 14/1. Glad I had a little of the 25/1 available when the weights were first published!

Hawkes Point ran poorly in the big National trial at Haydock, so has now been removed from my shortlist, while Zarkandar finished a good second on unsuitable heavy going at Wincanton and should now be spot on for the World Hurdle at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.

Given decent ground, an each way bet at 10/1 still looks attractive.

SATURDAY’S SELECTIONS: 2.40 Lingfield - Robin Hood’s Bay, 2.55 Newcastle – Relax, 3.25 Lingfield – Random Success (Parisian Pyramid each way), 3.50 Kempton – Planet Of Sound.

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