March 4th, 2016 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

The telephone line continues to go well and we are a long way up since the turn of the year. As I am often saying, I’d like everything to work in synch and for there to be winners on this page as well. It can’t always happen and last week was rather disappointing, though there were no strong fancies.

Considering how close we are to Cheltenham, the prize-money on Saturday is very good. There is £50,000 guaranteed in the pot for the Supporting Greatwood Handicap Chase at Newbury and I quite like the look of Paul Nicholls’ Sametegal with the very promising Harry Cobden claiming the full 7lb allowance.

Tagrita won at Wincanton on Thursday with Cobden on board and he showed again that he has the ability to go all the way, always given that there are enough opportunities when he loses the allowance so carefully preserved by Nicholls.

Sametegal was disappointing last time when only second of four at 2/1 on but he has been ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies on the last three occasions. Obviously that was a plus but Cobden taking the weight down to 10st 10lb here is something else entirely and novices have a good record in this type of handicap.

Interestingly, French trainer Emmanuel Clayeux sends over both Pythagore and Vicomte Du Seuil. The latter runs almost exclusively at Pau and has the assistance of Jacques Ricou but PYTHAGORE has kept better company and goes particularly well for Felix de Giles. The bookmakers will not know how to price up either of them and I shall back Pythagore with a saver on Sametegal.

It looks quiet otherwise but Godolphin warrant respect in valuable AW races these days and RACE DAY may be able to overcome a longish absence in the 4.15 at Lingfield, a venue he clearly likes very much.

Fergal O’Brien is an underrated trainer and does well with PERFECT CANDIDATE, a runner in the Listed Premier Chase at Kelso. This is a key Grand National trial and has been the chosen stepping stone for last year’s Aintree hero Many Clouds for quite some time. I think the National will see Many Clouds and Saint Are well to the fore once again but Oliver Sherwood will have left a little to work on here and Perfect Candidate, a very game winner last time, may show that he is a bit more than a talented handicapper. It’s quite a task for him and each-way is the call.

Jim Old would like the ground to dry out even more for ALDEBURGH in the novices’ handicap hurdle at Newbury. He is an interesting horse and certainly in the right hands to give punters a handy pay-day but, once again, each-way after an absence is the best move.