We are getting into the business end of things into the National Hunt season and things are really starting to hot up, well kind of. Following an absolutely fantastic and raging success of a weekend that was the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown attention turns to Newbury this weekend where we see the return of a few of Britain's big guns and main hopes for the Spring Festivals.
These big guns I speak of are of course the likes of Altior for Nicky Henderson and Native River for Colin Tizzard. You'll of seen in the previous paragraph that I said 'kind of' when stating that the season was hotting up and this is why I used a slightly negative slur. The return of these two fabulous animals will see them both contest in three horse fields. Altior will go up against Paul Nicholls' Politologue and the return of Alan King's Valdez from a huge lay off whereas Native River will go up against Cloudy Dream and Saphir Du Rheu.
Now, I can just about condone the English trainers not going over to Leopardstown last weekend to take on Irish horses that beat them on English soil never mind Irish. But over here I think it's really disappointing and the focus on saving horse primarily for Cheltenham is getting a little too much. Altior Vs Politlogue is a good match race, and i'll look forward to seeing how those too fair against each other but when there is such decent prize money on show I don't understand why some trainers don't try their luck more.
As well as the focus all being on Cheltenham another main reason for this however is the fact that there is just far too much racing over here at the minute. Your looking at a five or six meetings every Saturday as well as several a day throughout the week. It's just too much in my opinion. This is why we see really big competitive fields over in Ireland and not as much over here. I mean, what on earth was that race that Buveur D'air won last week at 1/14 was it? The Contenders Hurdle. Of which there weren't any contenders.
Nevertheless we still have a great weekend of action and some of the action over at Naas really takes my eye. None more so than the return of Benie Des Dieux for Willie Mullins and the Ricci's. She was last seen in December taking a Listed Contest at Carlisle in December with minimal of fuss before getting what I believe was a set back. She really could be anything this horse and is highly thought of by connections, she's likely to start a short price for her race at Naas tomorrow the 3.55 but make sure to keep an eye out for her.
The Kingmaker over at Warwick has also unfortunately only attracted four runners. Which again is a shame but all eyes for me will be on the Harry Whittingham trained Saint Calvados. He's another one that could be anything and he showed he's got bags of potential the last day when bolting up at Newbury. Another decisive victory here would surely put him in the picture for the Arkle of which he's currently around a 10/1 shot.