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Newcastle best bets: Fenland Tiger and Cruz Control gear up for strong Eider Chase tilt

The feature race on Saturday’s Newcastle card sees 24 fences and four-plus miles of heavy ground lie between the 12 starters and Eider Chase glory in what is sure to be a gruelling stamina test.

14:08 Newcastle: Betting.Bet Eider Handicap Chase (4 miles 1 furlong 56 yards)

There’s plenty of proven stayers in this high-quality field, with the two market leaders among several to be bringing good form and high hopes to the starting line

The Brian Ellison-trained Anglers Crag backed up two hard-fought victories either side of Christmas with an emphatic 11-length success at Musselburgh three weeks ago.

However, he is sure to be pushed hard by the England yard’s Fenland Tiger, who is looking to complete a hat-trick of his own after back-to-back wins in January, the most recent of which was at this venue 25 days ago.

Suggested best bet: Fenland Tiger in the 14:08 at Newcastle


They both hold serious claims at around 4/1 or 5/1, but obviously there’s only room for one of them in the winner’s enclosure, and with four places widely available (even five in places), there is also plenty of each-way value to be found elsewhere.

The energy-sapping conditions might attract some interest in bottom-weight outsiders such as Rath An Iuir and Prince Des Fichaux, but a more realistic prospect is Gold Clermont, who won at Fontwell last time out and looks well-treated under Philip Armson's useful three-pound claim.

Tommie Beau backed up two pre-Christmas wins with a decent second in the Sussex National at Plumpton seven weeks ago, but our final each-way nod goes to Tom Lacey’s progressive seven-year-old Cruz Control.

Suggested each-way punt: Cruz Control in the 14:08 at Newcastle

After enjoying bumper and hurdle success in his first two lightly-raced campaigns, he has literally taken larger obstacles in his stride since being sent chasing, notching up one win and three runner-up spots in five attempts over fences.

His sole success was over a much shorter trip around this circuit, while his two more recent second places at Doncaster were by a combined total of under two lengths. so he appears to be knocking on the door of a second win.

With regular jockey Sam Sheppard on duty at Kempton, the booking of Brian Hughes looks a positive move, with the reigning champion jockey boasting an impressive 25% win rate at this venue (eight wins and eight places from 32 rides) and fresh from success on his last ride of the day at Sedgefield on Friday.

This step-up in distance is unknown territory for Cruz Control (as indeed it is for most of these), but if he gets the trip then he could not be in better hands to give a good account at a decent price. 



READ MORE: Saturday ITV racing tips: Best bets for Kempton, Southwell and Newcastle on February 24

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