BetMGM ambassador Megan Nicholls offers her insight into the world of horse racing as she brings her first-rate knowledge exclusively to our blog every week.

Following the unfortunate cancellation of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle meeting at Newcastle, this entry features a video special as Megan takes BetMGM inside the yard of National Hunt trainer Harry Derham ahead of two of his charges competing at Newbury on Saturday.

Megan, who rode more than 110 winners before turning her hand to television punditry, also tells us all about fundraising efforts for injured jockey Graham Lee.

Newbury Video Special: Inside Harry Derham’s Yard

We were fortunate enough to be at Harry Derham's yard to look at a couple of his runners at Newbury. You can watch more in the video below.

We'll start with The Gerry Feilden and Brentford Hope, who bolted up on his return this season. That was in a conditional jockey's race and he won by 16 lengths which was very impressive.

His work at home has been good since – we saw he was in great form at home ourselves. He did get a hike in the weights, going up by 11lbs which is certainly a big jump, but he won't mind the ground. He's a speedy and classy horse.

Under Control is the favourite. It's her first run since a wind operation but she was hugely impressive last year, she just kept improving. That said, she's going to have to improve further with plenty of weight on her back on her seasonal reappearance.

I'd really like to see Brentford Hope do the business again – he's a really classy horse and it would be amazing if one of the horses we have been to visit at Harry's yard could go out and back up what we saw at home and win on the track.

Il Va De Soi, the other horse we saw out on the gallops, runs in the 1.05pm Novice Hurdle.

Harry’s been very happy with him as has his rider, Paige. He came from the point-to-point field and ran respectably in a couple of bumpers before making a nice start over hurdles at Ascot. That was over two miles where he travelled well – he got outpaced but did run on quite nicely – so stepping up to two-and-a-half miles will certainly suit him.

As we saw he’s still a big, raw horse who is definitely going to strengthen and grow into that frame and get better with time. He’s only going to keep improving. He’s quite a big price at Newbury this weekend at 14/1 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him outrun those odds up in trip.

His home work has been good – but whatever he does this year and over hurdles is only going to be a bonus on what he does in the future. As Harry explained, he really likes the horse but he’s all about time, strengthening up and really filling that frame.

It’s nice to see Il Va De Soi back on the track and hopefully he can outrun those 14/1 odds – he’s definitely one to keep an eye on in the future as he’s going to be a lovely horse once he finishes growing.

Fundraising for Graham Lee

It’s been a horrible few weeks for the horse racing community with news of jockey Graham Lee’s fall at Newcastle and subsequent injury.

We have some amazing lots put forward for an auction by myself and Alice Brooke, with the help of the Injured Jockeys Fund. It's absolutely amazing to see people getting involved, bidding and making donations as well.

We are well above our target but it’s another couple of weeks before the auction closes and we are hoping it will hit a wider audience so we can keep raising money for Graham.

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has bid and donated, and a massive thank you to everyone who generously donated their lots.

To find out more about donating click here, or to view the auction items click here.

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Odds correct at time of publication but subject to fluctuation

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