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Racing column: Nicholls can have a super Saturday
9:10am Saturday 8th February 2014 in Sport
NEWBURY'S Super Saturday card must pass a precautionary inspection at 7am but Clerk of the course Richard Osgood gave an upbeat bulletin yesterday and let’s hope the rains allow the meeting to go ahead.
Paul Nicholls’ has saddled the winner of the opening novices’ hurdle three times in the last decade and Calipto (1.20) can maintain their excellent record in the race despite the juvenile taking on older horses. The selection scored over C&D on his British debut having finished runner up in a listed contest on debut in his native France.
Justification won twice on the level for Aidan O’Brien and has joined Gary Moore since finishing third at Thurles back in November; he went well enough on heavy ground on the flat and is a fascinating contender for a yard who look as if they may move up another level.
Walkon is one of five entered for the Denman chase and the owner is praying the race will be on as he has to finish in the first four to be eligible for the Crabbie’s Grand National.
The weights will be announced in London on Tuesday and the Alan King runner won’t be eligible if he doesn’t finish in the first four in this race despite the fact that he showed his aptitude for the National fences when runner up at Aintree in the Topham last spring.
Paul Nicholls’ Al Ferof is the 6/4 favourite having finished third in the King George although I’m not convinced he’s an out and out stayer and I have thrown a few bob at Harry Topper who will love the heavy ground.