Sparkling Cone another for the Williams yard
Sparkling Cone can provide Venetia Williams with her second big race win on successive Saturdays by taking the £15,000-added Mandarin Handicap Chase at Newbury today.
Teeton Mill gave Williams a St Stephen's Day to remember with a brilliant victory in the Pertemps King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Now Sparkling Cone can give her a flying start to the New Year even though the trainer is not happy with his rating.
Before the season started, she believed that the 10-year-old would find life tougher - but the son of Celtic Cone could not have been more impressive when giving 23lb and a seven-length beating to Majors Legacy on his reappearance at Towcester two weeks ago.
Soft ground is essential for Sparkling Cone and conditions are almost certain to be ideal for him today as he attempts to concede weight all-round.
King's Road can see off his rivals in the Challow Hurdle after making a fine start to his hurdling career.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained gelding was a smart performer in bumpers last season, winning three of his five starts, and has made a successful transition to hurdling this term.
King's Road made his debut over timber at Chepstow in November and put up an encouraging display to win easily by 10 lengths from Buck's Palace.
That performance earned King's Road a step up to a Grade Two event at Sandown and he gave a good account of himself to chase home the unbeaten hurdler Barton.
King's Road would have appreciated a stronger gallop. He took over four out but was collared two out and he looked in trouble. However, to his credit, he ran on strongly in the closing stages to go down by just half a length.
Nipper Reed is worth the nap vote in the Newbury Racecourse Conference Centre Novices' Chase.
The Rod Simpson-trained nine-year-old made all the running when beating Hoh Express by three lengths at Uttoxeter two weeks ago and the winner has since scored at Kempton.
On a line through Uttoxeter third Distant Echo, Nipper Reed has nothing to fear from his main rival Collier Bay.
Golden Spinner will have benefited from his third to Sounds Like Fun on his seasonal debut at Sandown four weeks ago and can lift the Furlong Club Handicap Chase His trainer Nicky Henderson can complete a double with Tempestuous Lady. The ex-Irish mare is on a hat-trick after convincing victories at Leicester and Ludlow.
City Hall, runner-up in last season's Triumph Hurdle, is preferred to Bold Gait in the day's Showcase Race, the Rocking Horse Nursery Hurdle.
At Uttoxeter, McHattie can follow up his recent Newcastle success in the Jenkinsons Caterers Novice Hurdle.
The seven-year-old, owned by racecourse chairman Stan Clarke, trotted up by 16 lengths at Gosforth Park and looks to have a big future.
Paul Holley received a twoday suspension (January 11th and 12th) for careless riding after finishing second on River Gala behind Shanagore Warrior in the Champagne Delbeck Handicap Chase at Plumpton yesterday.