Preview and Ante-Post Tip: Vinnie Lewis Too Good To Miss
VINNIE LEWIS – 10-1 Ladbrokes for Eider Chase
Jump racing has taken something of a back seat at Newcastle since the introduction of the all weather track but the course at Gosforth Park hosts one of the longest handicap chases of the season on Saturday with the 4m 122y Betfred Eider Chase. First run in 1952 the race was won by the David Pipe-trained Comply Or Die in 2008 who went on to greater glory when taking the Grand National at Aintree two months later.
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The stamina-sapping contest has seen some attritional finishes over the years, particularly when the ground is testing, and this year’s renewal looks guaranteed to be not for the faint hearted. Monday afternoon sees the release of the latest declarations and the horse who is expected to head the ante-post lists of most bookmakers is the Harry Whittington-trained Vinnie Lewis.
Available at 10-1 with Ladbrokes prior to the 5-day forfeit stage the seven-year-old looks a stayer going places and is confidently expected to start half that price or less on the day of the race. The son of Vinnie Roe has just had the four starts over fences but has improved from race to race winning his last two, the most recent being a convincing victory in the extended 3m 4f Sussex National at Plumpton last month.
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A mark of 136 puts the lightly-raced gelding in Saturday’s marathon with 10st 11lb should trainer Paul Nicholls decide to make the trip to the north-east with his Scottish Grand National winner and top weight Vicente. Many of the 40 horses left in the race are either likely to look for easier options or fail to make the final cut of 18 for the race, whereas Vinnie Lewis is guaranteed a place and appears to have been laid out for this since the Plumpton win.
A very strong field of 40 entries have been announced for the @Betfred Eider Chase on Sat 24 Feb, including this former Denman Chase winner for @VenetiaWRacing #HoublonDesObeaux pic.twitter.com/nAuQ9fWddc— Newcastle Racecourse (@NewcastleRaces) February 8, 2018
The main dangers at this stage look to be West Of The Edge from the Dr Richard Newland stable, the David Pipe-trained Daklondike and Warwick Classic winner Milansbar but they will all have their work cut out to cope with Vinnie Lewis who, as well as being potentially well handicapped, possesses the greatest potential of any horse in the race.