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14-1 Laser can guide punters to big payday.

CHAMPION trainer Paul Nicholls has dominated the StanJames.com Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase (3.25) at Newbury for the last decade, winning it seven times.

He has two good chances again this time around with Art Mauresque and Sametegal, but the bookmakers have taken no chances on either and the one to back could be bottomweight Laser Hawk.

A good winner of a novice hurdle at the track last season, Laser Hawk ran well on his chase debut over two miles, staying on into third in a race that could hardly have worked out better.

Things haven't gone to plan since but both his runs have come on terrible ground and there is a lot of improvement to come now he steps up in trip and on better ground. He won three point-to-points in Ireland and is a really good jumper, so provided Paul Moloney can get him settled, he could spring a minor surprise at 14-1. Little Jon could easily bounce back to form at this track too. He has jumped badly at Cheltenham on his last two runs but won a good race over course and distance earlier in the season and the Twiston-Davies horses are in really good form.

The Betway Supporting Greatwood Veterans' Handicap Chase (2.15) is fiercely competitive and it would be no great surprise if Cheltenham Festival winner Same Difference bounced back to form on better ground. However, he didn't show enough on his comeback for his new trainer to be in any way confident about his chance and if Restless Harry puts in a clear round he is surely going to be hard to beat.

The only times Restless Harry has been beaten when he's completed at this track were when Reve De Sivola narrowly got the better of him in a Grade 1 over hurdles as a novice and when he finished third to Big Buck's in a Long Walk rescheduled from Ascot. He hasn't shown his best form this season but he hasn't looked a lost cause and the booking of Paddy Brennan for the first time could be significant too.

Pete The Feat ran well behind Le Reve last time and has to be a danger, but at a much bigger price I can't resist suggesting a small bet on David Pipe's Shotavodka too.

Go back to the start of the season and he ran a blinder in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle off a 10lb higher mark. The form has worked out really well and Shotavodka bounced back to form at Doncaster last time. Provided the ground isn't too soft, he is handicapped to win.

Two of the major fancies for the Grand National are in action in the BetBright Grimthorpe Chase (3.45) at Doncaster, but with plenty more rain forecast the ground isn't likely to be ideal for either The Last Samuri or The Druids Nephew. However, both look ideal for Aintree and if they are to have a chance in the big one, they will have to run well this afternoon.

Back at Newbury, I was going to give the Ladbrokes Supporting Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (2.50) a wide berth because, after running away with a decent little race at Fontwell last Sunday, Wells De Lune looked sure to start a red-hot favourite.

However, there has been a lot of chat about the Nicky Henderson-trained Saint Charles, which means Wells De Lune is a 5-1 shot - and that is too tempting a price.

Saint Charles might be way too good and he will need a penalty to have any chance of getting a run at Cheltenham, but he has been off for more than a year and will surely be better over further.

Wells De Lune improved massively for making the running and, if he's in the same form, Saint Charles is going to have to be very good to give him 12lb.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 5, 2016
Words:650
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