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Great Nico is in line for further success at Newbury

By Frank Brownlow

Published 13/02/2016

In hot seat: Nico de Boinville rides Ballyhenry to victory in the opener at Kempton yesterday, the first of a 170-1 four-timer
In hot seat: Nico de Boinville rides Ballyhenry to victory in the opener at Kempton yesterday, the first of a 170-1 four-timer

Nico de Boinville will attempt to continue his red hot run of form when he rides Argante and Bob Ford at Newbury.

De Boinville goes to the Berkshire course today on the back of a stunning 170-1 four-timer at Kempton yesterday.

De Boinville was on target with Ballyhenry, Josses Hill, Silvergrove and Stowaway Magic.

Argante is tipped to win the opener today.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey - who triumphed in the big race on Coneygree last March - said: "It's been a great day and I've never ridden more than a double before so I am a happy boy.

"I'm very lucky that I've been supported by nice trainers and horses.

"It's all about getting on the right ones," De Boinville added.

The Game Spirit Chase at Newbury revolves around Dodging Bullets, but there could be fun to be had by supporting Captain Conan from Nicky Henderson's in-form yard.

Dodging Bullets, last season's champion chaser, is a fine animal, but he has had his issues this winter and will be having a first start for 339 days.

To that end Captain Conan, who himself has only just returned from a long absence, could capitalise.

The nine-year-old was a really encouraging fourth behind The New One over hurdles at Haydock in January - his first outing since he was pulled up in the 2014 Champion Chase - and should have come on for that.

It should never be forgotten that he has won four races in Grade One company and, perhaps just as importantly, he is never put off his stride when the mud is flying.

Sternrubin can blaze a trail in the Betfair Hurdle.

The Terry Warner-owned five-year-old is some sight in full throttle and is unquestionably made of the right stuff to win a race of this nature.

Trainer Philip Hobbs fires three shots across the bow in the £115,000 handicap over two miles, with Haydock winner War Sound one of the biggest movers and shakers in ante-post lists.

But it has to be revealing that jockey Richard Johnson has elected to keep his partnership intact with Sternrubin, who played his part in probably the best race of the season so far at Ascot in December.

Sternrubin added resilience to his growing list of attributes and fought back brilliantly to dead-heat for first place with Jolly's Cracked It.

Utterly likeable and utterly dependable, Sternrubin is progressing with such velocity that he should be able to handle an 8lb bump in the weights.

Ulsterman Brian Hughes rides Chieftain's Choice in the £150,000 showdown.

Belfast Telegraph

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