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Kalashnikov to fire at Newbury as Altior returns ahead of Cheltenham

Cian Carroll | 10 February 2018

Cracking cards from across the UK

There’s another great weekend of racing in-store with bumper cards from Newbury and Warwick.

And the ITV cameras will be there to cover the action. Can Altior triumph on his return? And will who will win the Denman Chase?

The Coral News Team take a look at the key storylines and provide some betting tips…

Bet of the Day

One of the more interesting subplots of the day is the return of Altior after a near year-long absence in the Game Spirit Chase.

Nicky Henderson’s Arkle Trophy winner has arrived back from injury just in time for the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.

Can he justify the strong favouritism he’ll enjoy? After initial declarations, only the in-form Politologue and Valdez are included in the field.

So this looks a straight shoutout out between the two former horses. There’s no doubt that Altior is a special horse, but will he be the same post-injury? It’s difficult to know.

That’s why the bigger odds on Politologue – the Tingle Creek winner – might be a smarter call. Paul Nicholls’ star has been running like a dream all season and is Coral’s Bet of the Day.

Kalashnikov could trigger some value

There’s a superb field lined up for the big handicap hurdle at Newbury at 3:35. This renewal looks ultracompetitive with a number of horses in with a big chance.

Irish Roe and Jenkins currently head the betting but it’s slightly further down the betting where there’s a value pick.

Novices have a very good record in this race and they don’t come much better in this division than Amy Murphy’s Kalashnikov.

The five-year-old won on all three starts last year and just came up short in his maiden Grade 1 at Sandown last month.

He was second to Summersville Boy that day on heavy ground which probably didn’t suit. He’s like a bullet on better ground and Newbury conditions should massive suit him.

Dreaming of the Denman

The Coral News Team couldn’t finish this column without mentioning the Denman Chase.

This 2m 7f renewal is a pretty significant Gold Cup indicator but there are only three entries this time around.

Native River is the current hot favourite with Colin Tizzard’s star aiming for consecutive wins in this race.

However, the eight-year-old hasn’t raced in nearly a year and much like Altior, it’s difficult to know what shape he’s in right now.

The same can’t be said for Cloudy Dream. Ruth Jefferson’s star has had a consistent season to date and has yet to finish outside the top two in 10 starts over fences.

The dryer ground will suit this eight-year-old and is value in comparison to its more illustrious opponent.

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