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Hunter Chase - 5.35 Newbury

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Lovely to wake up and watch Arthur's Secret do his thing at Ludlow. It was another impressive performance and he clocked a time 5 seconds faster than a novice handicap chase over the same trip and the winner of that was carrying 13lbs less! I was never concerned that he wasn't going to win and Ballotin was very much 2nd best for me when he came down. As much as Maxwell tried to get close to the winner it just meant Arthur's went even quicker and he couldn't get to him. He was 2L down at the time he came down and it would have been double figures come the line in my view. The way he jumped the last told you that he had loads left in the tank and it really is a shame he isn't going to Aintree because it would have been some sight watching him and Road To Rome go at it.

The betting told the story at Chepstow as I said it would and all the money was for Double Ross and he did it well to win. It seems he ran at Leicester to try and get him qualified for Aintree, but ran out of time in the end so he will just stick to normal Hunter Chases. The 2nd ran well enough and might find an opportunity. The 3rd also ran a solid race and could win one when not facing such strong opposition.

Onto Newbury on Friday and we finally get to see Village Vic run in a Hunter Chase. I think it was the Hereford one that was called off a couple of months ago that he was set to run in and I was happy to take him on that day and I am again here. Clearly he has plenty of back class and he was running in good races last season, but he wasn't showing a great deal and he has only got round once in his last 5 starts and he was well beaten in the Plate at the Festival that day. He could well be capable of winning this, but you are clearly taking a lot on trust if you do back him.

Southfield Theatre and Forgotten Gold were both stuffed behind easy winners on their Hunter Chase debuts and they need to come on a lot for me to win this. It is always hard to gage how a horse has performed behind an easy winner, but I didn't see a great deal of promise in either's efforts to warrant backing them here.

That leaves us with Master Baker who is the pick for me. It was no surprise he put a poor field to the sword at Taunton and he sets a very good standard for the former rules horses to reach. How on earth 365 priced him up at 4/1 I don't know and it was a surprise that price lasted for even the 5 minutes it did. I would make him favourite myself as we know where we stand with him whereas with the other 3 it is all guesswork and they are going to have to still have a lot of ability to be good enough to beat him. Village Vic clearly isn't a 150 horse anymore and if he has gone back 20lbs then he won't be wining this for me.

Master Baker 1.5pts @ 15/8 with Paddy Power and Unibet

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Well done Darran, right again! I must admit I had a very small bet on the runner up, which ran ok without ever really looking like winning, Interesting that Hills have a little description of each runner on their betting screens and for Southfield Vic it said "just behind Shantou Flyer last time"....obviously meaning "just" a fence behind!

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