Stick to Rib to give punters their Fix in Newbury battle
FIX THE RIB can claim a long overdue big handicap victory at Newbury.
The Gary Moore-trained nine-year-old has not hit the mark since November 2009, but that should not prove a deterrent ahead of the Barbury International Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup.
After all, the likeable gelding has turned in a number of stout displays since his attentions were switched to chasing, having been considered smart enough to run in this season's Tingle Creek.
Although he is almost certainly not of that calibre of animal, Fix The Rib should |be in his element in a frenetic handicap of this nature.
Newbury's flat, galloping characteristics have also served him well in the past, and at a far higher grade, when he chased home Master Minded in the 2010 Game Spirit Chase.
Perhaps crucially, Fix The Rib remains teasingly weighted for this assignment as he is 11lb lower than when last victorious.
Moore has also resisted the urge to enter him at the Cheltenham Festival, so this could be his big day.
Good racing in Scotland, too, where the progressive Tap Night can maintain his sharp ascent by taking Grade Two honours at Kelso. Lucinda Russell's chestnut lines up for the totepool Premier Kelso Hurdle in pursuit of a hat-trick after winning two small races at Newcastle and Carlisle by an accumulation of 27 lengths.
The former American Flat performer is clearly hitting his stride nicely after a few introductory runs last summer, and arguably falls into the could-be-anything category from what we have seen so far.
Tap Night would be a far shorter price |for this race if housed at one of the big powerhouse yards in the south.
This season's William Hill-sponsored Grimthorpe Chase is not a classic by any stretch, but Neptune Equester could still go well at a decent price. Brian Ellison thinks a great deal of this nine-year-old, who still holds an entry in the Grand National.He admittedly now has a bit to prove following a rather truculent effort at Ayr, |but the better ground and more considered tactics should considerably help his cause on Town Moor.
An undistinguished card at Lingfield can be energised if Amitola runs to form in the Mike Lilley 60th Birthday Handicap.
David Barron's mare thrived over a mile here last month when accounting for Lockantanks by a length.
She was well on top by the line that day so a 3lb hike is more than fair.
Given that was her first stab over eight furlongs, there ought to be plenty left in tank, especially as she is still clutching on to a Lincoln entry.