Whilst many racing fans will have already started their Cheltenham countdown – only 32 days to go! – it mustn’t be forgotten that we have plenty of quality racing action on offer in the interim. A prime example comes at Newbury this coming Saturday as the track hosts its, not to be missed, Super Saturday card.

Featuring eagerly anticipated comebacks from two of the big fancies for Gold Cup and Champion Chase glory, as well as one of the year’s major handicap hurdles, this looks a real firecracker of a card. Here’s our take on each of the seven contests on offer.

1:15pm – Read Paul Nicholls Exclusively At Betfair Novices’ Hurdle(Class 3) – 2m½f

Pym to win

The novices kick of the day’s action in a contest which has been won by a runner aged five or six years old in eight of the past nine years. This has been a good race for the market leader, with five of the past nine favourites obliging, and the race seeing no winner at bigger than 9/2 in this time.

The name of Paul Nicholls may feature in the race’s title, but it may be his big rival Nicky Henderson who boasts the strongest hand here. Henderson has five entered at the time of writing, with Whatswrongwithyou boasting the best form of the quintet. As a seven year old though, he does not fit the recent age trend for the race.

Grapevine didn’t really show enough on debut to be of interest whilst Dame De Compagnie’s reputation took a blow last time out. We suspect Doux Pretender is a lot better than we have seen to date but the one to back here is Pym. This one ran in the same bumper in which the yard’s superstar Sprinter Sacre took part back in the day, and whilst he surely won’t end up in that league, he did do the job nicely when scoring by four lengths and looks worth chancing.

1:50pm – Betfair Cash Out Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) – 3m

Lough Derg Farmer each way at 10/1 with Coral

Our next race features a most interesting runner amongst the list of current entries as Ben Pauling’s Barters Hill is pencilled in to make his return to the track following an absence of 456 days. The winner of his first seven starts under rules, this son of Kalanisi developed quite a following in the 2015/16 season, only tasting defeat for the first time when fourth to Unowhatimeanharry in the Albert Bartlett. Rated 150 back then, he could prove a decent bet thrown in off 142, but having been away so long, he clearly comes with plenty of risks attached.

A safer option looks to be the Nicky Henderson runner, Lough Derg Farmer. Having been pulled up last time out wouldn’t appear to make him the most obvious candidate for the shortlist, but that was really only down to the fact that he simply didn’t cope with the fences that day. Swiftly reverted back to hurdles, he is two from four in this sphere, and also finished a close second to the talented Testify last term. Making his handicap debut here, a mark of 132 certainly looks workable and he looks the each way call.

2:25pm – Betfair Denman Chase (Grade 2) – 2m7½f

Saphir Du Rheu to win at 4/1 with Bet365

There is only a small field for our next race, but this nevertheless looks one of the most intriguing contests of the day. Won by the likes of Coneygree, Long Run and of course Denman himself over the years, this event often provides a last opportunity to gain valuable Gold Cup clues ahead of the big one in March.

Fountains Windfall looks to have the RSA as his ultimate objective, whilst how Cloudy Dream gets on will give us a useful line on previous conqueror, Definitly Red’s Gold Cup credentials. The two most interesting contenders though are last year’s Gold Cup third and fifth, Native River and Saphir Du Rheu.

Both are returning from a significant absence, but do top the field on ratings and may have this between them. Only just over three lengths separated the pair at Cheltenham, and whilst Native River was arriving at that contest on the back of a long season, Saphir Du Rheu was reportedly only really using the race as a Grand National prep. There may not be much between them again and the 6lbs that Saphir Du Rheu receives from his rival may prove crucial. Take the Paul Nicholls runner for the win.

3:00pm – Betfair Exchange Chase (Grade 2) – 2m½f

Altior to win at 10/11 with Betfair

There is another small field here but it’s certainly another real cracker up next as three of the first five in the betting for the Queen Mother Champion Chase look set to go to post. Paul Nicholls’ Politologue appears a star on the rise since being reverted back to this trip, following up his narrow verdict over Fox Norton in the Tingle Creek Chase with a wide margin victory in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.

Fox Norton meanwhile reverts back to this distance following a failed staying experiment in the King George last time out. There wasn’t much between them in the Tingle Creek, but Politologue would look the more progressive horse and may confirm that form.

The best horse in the race though is Altior. Were his wellbeing assured, following his spell away from the track and wind operation, we would expect him to start significantly shorter here. Unbeaten in his last 11 outings, including five Grade 1 triumphs, the eight year old already boasts two wins at the Cheltenham Festival and looked virtually unbeatable prior to his time off.

Henderson has brought older horses back from more serious problems than this in the past though, and if anyone can have the son of High Chaparral fit and ready to go first time up, he can. We are big fans of Altior and will be backing him to assert his dominance on the division.

3:35pm – Betfair Hurdle (Grade 3) – 2m½f

Kayf Grace each way at 12/1 with Coral

Gary Moore has taken this prize twice in the past 10 years, a fine record for what is always a hugely competitive race. In Knocknanuss he looks to have live claims once again. You don’t get much more consistent than this son of Beneficial who is yet to finish outside of the first two in his six career starts to date. No doubt this race will have been set out as his big target and he seems likely to go well.

Nicky Henderson has a clutch of entries here, including the highly touted Charli Parcs, rejuvenated, Jenkins, and forgotten horse Lough Derg Spirit. It therefore looks interesting that Nico De Boinville looks set to plump for the mare Kayf Grace.

This one badly needed the run on comeback in November, but showed what she could do when winning with her head in her chest last time out at Kempton. The winner of the big mare’s bumper at Aintree back in 2016, she clearly possesses plenty of ability and is our each way selection.

4:10pm – Betfair Each Way Edge Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (Class 3) – 2m7½f

Duke Des Champs each way

Should Anthony Honeyball’s Fountains Windfall take up this option ahead of his Denman Chase entry, he would clearly be the one to beat following his impressive win at Kempton last time out. Such was his superiority that day, that even this 10lb higher mark may not be enough to stop him. With doubts surrounding his participation though we just prefer an each way punt on another.

The one we like the look of is the Philip Hobbs runner, Duke Des Champs. Twice a winner over hurdles, he was deemed good enough to contest the Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree. Having hit a peak rating of 146 over the smaller obstacles, he may well be favourably treated off just 135 ahead of this. His second to Rocklander on chase debut last time offered enough encouragement to suggest that he may make it as a chaser and he is expected to strip fitter here.

4:40pm – Best Odds Guaranteed At Betfair Bumper (Listed Race) – 2m½f

Morning Vicar to win

As is so often the case with these big Saturday bumpers, we are greeted with a whole host of last time out winners for our finale. Pym would be of obvious interest for Nicky Henderson, but it is to be hoped he takes up his option earlier on the card.

We will stick with Henderson for our selection though as we were greatly impressed by the finishing thrust shown by Morning Vicar on his debut at this track in January. Going in the colours now made famous by Might Bite, he looks another talented Seven Barrows inmate.

As ever with this type of race though, we won’t be going in with a huge stake. Moreover, looking out for any market movements could be the key to this one but all things being equal, Morning Vicar looks worth a punt to end the day.