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Newbury best bets (1355): Reduced mark puts Bill Baxter in good shape for Greatwood Gold Cup

From Saturday’s bumper racecard, Tipstrr pundit Steve Jones has focused his expert eye on Newbury’s biggest race of the day to provide us with his best-value Daily Bargain.

13:55 Newbury: BetVictor Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase (2 miles 4 furlongs)

The combination of conditions at Newbury looks ideal for Bill Baxter, who is now well enough handicapped to take advantage. A far better chaser than hurdler, he has won four of his nine completed starts over fences with his career-best performance coming under a set of conditions very similar to these.

That performance came in April last year when he won the Grade 3 Topham Handicap over the Grand National fences at Aintree, where he beat 28 rivals by nearly two lengths over 21 furlongs on soft ground.

Putting in a bold, prominent-racing display, he was always up with the pace, making a strong challenge after the second-last and going well clear together with Fantastic Lady, the pair pulling 12 lengths clear of the rest.

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That win was Bill Baxter’s fourth win in this sphere, with his other three being achieved over trips between 20–22.5 furlongs on ground ranging from good-soft to heavy.

His trainer is of the opinion that the eight-year-old is at his best on a testing surface, which he looks very likely to get here, and having won the Topham off a mark of 133, Bill Baxter is of obviously strong interest under very similar conditions off his current mark of 135, which is 8lbs lower than it was at the start of December.

He started this season with a decent enough effort after 205 days offs, and he followed up with two fruitless runs over unsuitably long trips, and when last seen in January he lost all chance with a very bad error in a premier handicap at Cheltenham.

Those last three runs have served to bring his mark back down from 143 to 135 and, now that he returns to an optimum set of conditions, he looks primed to take advantage under James Bowen, who has won on him twice before (from four completed starts), as well as riding him in the Colin Parker.

Suggested best bet: Bill Baxter each-way in the 13:55 at Newbury

 

Of the others, Heltenham is of obvious interest given that he is a previous course-distance winner who arrives in top form, having gone very close in a Class 2 at Kempton just a week ago.

He was beaten just half a length (over 20.5 furlongs on soft ground) by a lightly-raced Paul Nicholls-trained winner, and he was doing his best work in the closing stages to be never-nearer on a sharper than this one.

Off an unchanged mark, he looks sure to go well, although Harry Skelton has opted to go to Doncaster today, where Nube Negra gives him a decent chance of landing a nice pot.

Next Best bet: Heltenham in the 13:55 at Newbury

 

READ MORE: Harry Cobden assesses his seven Newbury rides in his Planet Sport Bet blog

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