10 go in William Hill ‘High 5’ Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday
The £50,000 Grade Three William Hill ‘High 5’ Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup (3.15pm) is the highlight of an exciting seven-race card at Newbury on Saturday, March 4, Greatwood Charity Raceday.
Heading the market at 5/2 with sponsor William Hill for the two and a half-mile handicap chase is Oldgrangewood (Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton, 11st 3lb), a winner of three of his four starts over fences and last seen out when seeing off Dresden (Henry Oliver/Richard Johnson, 11st 2lb, 10/1 with William Hill) at Wetherby on February 4.
Dresden subsequently ran at Warwick on February 24, going down by a neck under top-weight of 11st 12lb in a handicap chase over two and a half miles.
Trainer Henry Oliver, who is based at Abberley in Worcestershire, said today: “Dresden has run two solid races on his last two outings. He is running again quite quickly after his last run at Warwick but that is not a problem as he showed last year when he won in quick succession at Ascot and Aintree.
“He is not entered in anything at Cheltenham as we are aiming him at the Topham Chase at Aintree. Saturday’s race at Newbury was the last option we had of running over two and a half miles without getting too close to Aintree.
“The horse has come back in great nick after his last run and I think the track at Newbury will suit him. He seems to getting the two and a half-mile trip well now. We tweaked his wind over Christmas and that seems to be helping him finish his races.
“He has a good pull at the weights with Oldgrangewood on their run at Wetherby and, because he is such a stuffy horse, Dresden should have come on again since then. That is the sort of horse he is – he thrives on his racing.”
No trainer can approach the record of Paul Nicholls in the William Hill ‘High 5’ Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup, with the 10-time champion having landed eight of the 14 runnings since the first one in 2004. Nicholls is represented on Saturday by top-weight Vibrato Valtat (Stan Sheppard (5), 11st 12lb, 6/1) and More Buck’s (Harry Cobden, 10st 8lb, 12/1).
Vibrato Valtat scored at G1 level as a novice in 2014 and has shown a return to form when second on his latest two outings, while More Buck’s, who hails from the same family as the outstanding staying hurdler Big Buck’s, has scored three times in handicap company this season but is taking a step up in class.
The 11/2 second-favourite with William Hill is Vic de Touzaine (Venetia Williams/Tom Scudamore, 10st 8lb). The lightly-raced eight-year-old made a promising seasonal reappearance when runner-up at Wincanton on February 2, when he had subsequent Kempton G3 winner Pilgrims Bay 11 lengths behind him.
Hollywoodien (Tom Symonds/James Davies, 11st 2lb, 8/1) has been in good form this season, scoring at Wetherby on Boxing Day and taking a close third at Sandown on January 7.
O’Maonlai (Tom George/Adrian Heskin, 11st 3lb, 9/1) was the five-length winner of the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase over an extended two and three-quarter miles at Newbury on November 26, but needs to bounce back from a disappointing effort at Haydock Park on January 21.
Thomas Crapper (Robin Dickin/Charlie Poste, 10st 2lb, 10/1) scored over the course and distance in a novices’ handicap in April, 2016, when seeing off Fox Appeal by a length and three-quarters. The 10-year-old has run at Cheltenham on his last three outings, posting his best effort when sixth, beaten 15 lengths, in the G3 BetVictor Gold Cup in November.
The line-up is completed by the 11-year-olds Tornado In Milan (Evans Williams/Adam Wedge, 10st 10lb, 12/1), who reverts to chasing following an impressive success over hurdles at Wincanton last month, and Shadows Lengthen (Mick Easterby/Gavin Sheehan, 10st 2lb, 16/1), seeking his first success since scoring in Listed company at Wetherby in October, 2014.
Greatwood Charity Raceday provides an opportunity for racegoers to learn about Greatwood, a unique charity based near Marlborough which provides fulfilling futures for former racehorses and teaches emotional literacy and life skills to children and young people with special educational needs.
Mencap Charity Raceday supports West Berkshire Mencap, a charity doing invaluable work to support people living with learning difficulties and their families in the local area.