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The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections for 2nd December 2023

The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections from Newbury & Fairyhouse


Play Coral ‘Racing-Super-Series’ Foe Free Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Listed) 11.55
It may pay to side with course and distance winner Manimole for Newbury’s opener on Saturday. She’s had a busy campaign, on the go for over thirteen months and clocking up an impressive fifteen starts, so if it’s not catching up with her can add to the three wins here. Acts on a variety of ground, and every reason to expect her to be bang there once more

Bet In Race With Coral Intermediate Handicap Hurdle (Premier Handicap) 2.15
Under Control (nb)
The progressive Doctor Dino filly, Under Control, can justify likely favouritism to get this season off to a winning start. She’s only failed to score once in five starts over timber, and that was in the ultra-competitive Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, where she was quickly turned out after winning here at Newbury. Conditions look ideal, and a Wind Op might have eked out more improvement. Under Control is the one to beat

Coral Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) 2.50
Monbeg Genius
In a cracking renewal, the preference is for Jonjo O’Neill’s Monbeg Genius. He won three on the trot either side of Christmas last season, and looks well treated from a mark of 147. There’s sure to be plenty of support for Paul Nicholls’s Complete Unknown considering the purple patch that the Ditcheat yard is having, while Dan Skelton’s yard looks on the up once more, so brother Harry’s mount, Midnight River, also enters calculations. Top-weight Ahoy Senor will need to jump better than in the Charlie Hall Chase where he failed to finish last month, so this looks a big ask with 12 stone to shoulder. In the final appraisal, the less exposed Monbeg Genius can take advantage of his attractive mark and land the Hennessey

Coral Get Closer To The Action Handicap Chase 3.25
Elixir De Nutz
Top-weight Elixir De Nutz looks the one to follow for this Class 2 contest, with his win in the Haldon Cup at Exeter last time out the best form on offer here. He was a useful hurdler, but has taken to fences well, and probably hasn’t reached his ceiling yet in this discipline. Real Stone, lining up for the Skelton team is likely to be near the head of the market after bolting up at Haydock Park last week, but there’s a suspicion this race might come too quickly, while Master Chewy looks one going the right way for Nigel Twiston-Davies, so also makes the shortlist. Elixir De Nutz to defy top-weight with the excellent Freddie Gingell’s 5lb claim a decent offset


Jim Ryan Racecourse Services Beginners Chase 11.45
Corbetts Cross
Course winner Nick Rockett unsurprisingly heads the ante-post markets with Champion Trainer Willie Mullins banging in the winners this week at Thurles, but Emmet Mullins can get one over his uncle with Corbetts Cross. He might well have won the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival but for running out at the last, but showed enough at Naas last month to get the nod for this. That first try over fences behind the useful prospect, Grangeclare West should put him in pole position to serve it up to the debutante, Nick Rockett. That said, Nick Rockett was pretty impressive back here in April when he brought up the hat-trick, so a good duel is in store. Corbetts Cross just edges it having had a first run over fences

Easyfix Equine Handicap Chase (Listed) 2.00
Fighting Fit (nap)
Philip Dempsey can land this Listed contest with Fighting Fit, who goes to post here on a hat-trick after wins at Galway and Listowel. He’s a progressive sort who will have more big days over fences, and with race fitness assured, should have the measure of Gordon Elliott’s Grey Diamond, who has made the move over to Ireland from Sam Thomas. Gavin Brouder has a 5lb claim that could prove telling, so Fighting Fit is the one to follow

WillowWarm Hurdle (Grade 3) 2.35
Golden Joy
A trappy looking race with just the six runners lining up for Black Type honours, with the vote going to Gordon Elliott’s Golden Joy. This French import won’t mind the cut in the ground, and a solid third in the Fishery Lane Novice Hurdle at Naas three weeks ago is solid form to bring to the table here. Willie Mullins sends out Triumph Hurdle fourth, Gust Of Wind, and this pair look the ones to note, with course winner Risk Belle also on the shortlist

The Mandarin

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