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Big guns come out to play for valuable Coral Gold Cup Day at Newbury Racecourse

One of the biggest days in Newbury’s jump racing calendar arrives on Saturday - Coral Gold Cup day.

Those of a certain vintage will remember the race as the Hennessy, a drink that often works well when served over ice and Newbury has had to battle its own icy conditions to get the racing on this weekend.

Friday’s Long Distance Hurdle card got the go ahead after an inspection on Friday morning following icy overnight conditions in Berkshire - and the same is expected again ahead of Saturday’s blockbuster card, with temperatures expected to be well below freezing overnight on Friday.

Last year’s winner Le Milos
Last year’s winner Le Milos

Should everything go ahead, racing gets underway at 11.55 with a listed mares’ novices hurdle, the Gold Cup feature race of the day is set for 2.50 and the action finishes with a class two handicap chase at 3.25 - with all races being shown live on Racing TV.

A surprise could well be on the cards in the first race of the day as Mighty Moth, who has shown good form in previous hurdling runs, is taken to go one better at Newbury stepping up in grade to boot, and could be one for the future for the Noel Williams card.

Race two of the afternoon arrives at 12.30 and Kapga de Lily is back for a seasonal return and is only 1lb higher in the weights than off her last winning mark and is backed to go well again. Nassalam, who ran well when fourth in the Grand Sefton at Aintree, should run Kapga De Lily close, providing his return to form last month wasn’t a fluke.

The third race on the card is a novices’ hurdle (1.05) and Massacio, for trainer Alan King, can build on a fine debut win over obstacles last time out at Chepstow on his first start having moved from the Adrian Heskin yard.

Off To A Flyer will be hoping to do exactly that in the fourth race in the card at 1.40 - the handicap hurdle with 11 runners set to tackle the 2m4f distance. Jet Powered for Lambourn-trainer Nicky Henderson should run the Joe Tizzard-trained runner close.

The Gerry Feilden is up next at 2.15 and the Harry Derham-trained Brentford Hope can still be backed to defy an 11lb rise in the weights to score once again at Newbury, having seen off 10 rivals at this track last time out and is three wins from his last four starts. Our Champ won two 2m handicaps last season and has had a break since a fifth at Ascot so could come into play here.

The big one is up next at 2.50 - the Coral Gold Cup. Irish raider Mahler Mission is certainly of interest here for John McConnell, a previous second-place finisher in Grade 2 company and who was well in the frame in Cheltenham’s National Hunt Chase before falling two out.

The Coral Gold Cup
The Coral Gold Cup

Monbeg Genius arrives with the in-form Jonjo O’Neill yard and also holds very solid claims, winning three handicaps last winter and finishing third to the Grand National winner Corach Rambler in the Ultima at last year’s Cheltenham Festival.

Complete Unknown will probably go off favourite for Paul Nicholls and with good reason too, having been a more than useful hurdler before excelling over fences, landing a ten-runner handicap in March before a fine second behind Gerri Colombe in the Mildmay last season. He will have been brought on for the run when landing a comfortable three-runner handicap at Newton Abbot in October and is firmly in the frame at Newbury.

Finally, the card calms down a bit with a class two handicap chase to round off the meeting at 3.25. Elixir De Nutz landed the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter last month so arrives at Newbury in good nick, while Master Chewy has shown rapid improvement since switching to chasing, scoring on debut at Aintree and following that up with a second place finish over course and distance.

Newbury 2.50 (supplied by horse racing odds)

Complete Unknown 13/2

Mahler Mission, Monbeg Genius 7/1

Midnight River, Stumptown 9/1

Stolen Silver 11/1

Remastered 14/1

Ahoy Senor, Bill Baxter, Our Power 18/1

Kitty’s Light, Zanza 18/1

20/1 bar

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