Newbury handicapping tips favour Nicholls duo on Saturday

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On Saturday, Newbury will host an excellent card with seven races, two of which are the popular Betfair Hurdle handicap and the Denman Chase. I have a recommendation for each of these races.

: Nicholls duo can triumph on super Saturday

For the former at 2.25, I fancy Paul Nicholls’ HITMAN to do the business.

It’s not a vintage renewal of the Denman Chase – a Grade 2 contest over 2m7½f that often serves as a useful trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup – by any means, and I think this is a simple case of the favourite being the best horse in the race.

The seven-year-old was disappointing last time out in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day, but I think you can draw a line through that piece of form for he made a bad mistake early on and was found to be bleeding post-race.

Prior to that, he was incredibly progressive and looked a proper Grade One chaser when bolting up at Haydock in a race won by Bravemansgame no less late last year.

Hitman gets 6lbs from Eldorado Allen, which should be more than enough to see the selection finish in front of Joe Tizzard’s nine-year-old, and I’d be seriously disappointed if he’s not good enough to beat the rest of this field.

Just over an hour later is the big betting heat of the day – the Betfair Hurdle (3.35).

This is always an extremely competitive event, and this year is no different. There’s a whole host of well-handicapped horses in the mix, but I can’t get away from RUBAUD.

His form took a bit of a knock on Thursday when Rare Edition was beaten in the Sidney Banks, but I don’t think the latter ran to form so I wouldn’t be too put off by that.

I think we’re looking at a progressive five-year-old who is surely better than the 130 mark he runs off on Saturday.

He’s one that will certainly enjoy the quick ground and should go well off a lowly weight.

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