15:35 Newbury Sat 10 February 2018
Thrives around here, with three of his four hurdles win coming over C&D. Held off Charli Parcs to win Listed Gerry Feilden here in December, tough ask off top weight but yard's runners suddenly flying this week.
Finally starting to fulfil his potential with back-to-back wins at Kempton and Ascot, latest in Grade 3 (2m3½f, soft). May have more to offer but harder to dominate matters from the front in this packed affair and big weight to carry up another 5lb.
Not disgraced behind Buveur D'air as a novice over this trip at Aintree in April 2016, lost his way over fences last term. Much better at Ascot last time and not discounted in first-time tongue tie for powerful connections.
Closely matched with a few of these based on Ascot Grade 3 over the trip just before Christmas. Should find this test to his liking, champion trainer has strong record in the race (saddles five) and strong jockey booking is a positive.
French import was a very good juvenile, excellent effort on reappearance when close second to High Bridge over C&D in December though failed to build on that when behind a few of these at Ascot since. Too soon to write him off.
French import, winning start in Britain at Huntingdon in January last, excellent runner-up efforts in Fred Winter at Cheltenham and Aintree Grade 1 Juvenile Hurdle. Disappointed at Ascot on first start for Nicholls team, but not crossed off.
Fine effort to win heavy-ground Cheltenham handicap off 139 last month under this claiming rider. C&D winner with figures of P212 over hurdles at this track. Any further rain would likely help his case.
2015 Champion Bumper winner, made bright start to novice hurdles career last term before being outclassed (pulled up) in Champion Hurdle. Also well held in Grade 1 Aintree novice when last spotted. Has undergone wind operation but big ask on return.
Lightly-raced sort who produced a career-best when running Elgin to within a ½L in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham last time out. Aimed at this race thereafter, been raised 5lb but scope to improve and capable of giving bold account again.
Highly-promising novice, lost his unbeaten record in the Tolworth last time out but that was essentially another step forward on just his third start over flights. Progressive sort, being asked by some way his toughest question so far.
Some fairly useful efforts last season and staying on without threatening in valuable Galway handicap and the Greatwood most recently over timber, any drying ground would do his chances no harm.
Mare was a Grade 2 bumper winner at Aintree in April 2016, winning start over timber later that year before spending 350 days on easy list. Impressive when scoring over 2m (soft) at Kempton on second run back, she's unexposed despite an 8lb hike.
Improved performer for Dan Skelton this season, backing up winning reappearance at Lingfield in November with cracking effort in the Lanzarote (2m5f, soft) at Kempton. Cheekpieces tried but a bit to prove over trip that might be sharp enough.
Smart novice last season and ran a big race in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton on reappearance when second to London Prize. Just 1lb higher now and another of the Seven Barrows delegation worth considering.
Kayf Tara mare is 4-8 over hurdles, ran a fine race behind High Bridge over C&D in December (2L away in third) and since landed Listed 2m4f heavy-ground Sandown prize. Wouldn't mind seeing some deterioration in the ground.
Smart bumper winner has gone close in all three novice hurdles this season against some useful sorts. Opening mark of 137 looks very workable having undergone wind surgery since previous run. Will need to improve but clearly capable of doing so.
Useful form in novice/maidens before easily landing Fontwell handicap (2m1½f, soft) on Boxing Day from initial mark of 124. Should improve again and trainer has landed this valuable pot three times since 2007. Respected.
Triple bumper winner for John Ferguson in 2015 and has looked good over hurdles this season after long absence, albeit on heavy going. Third run in a month may have caught him out at Haydock last time, opening mark of 135 looks about right.
Has a chance based on Cheltenham success around this time last year over 2m1f on soft ground. Only 2lb higher in ratings now but hasn't produced anything like his best in two runs this season.
Four from six over hurdles and yet to finish out of the money, lost little caste in defeat when second to Maria's Benefit at Doncaster a fortnight ago in Mares' Grade 2. Off the same mark, has an obvious chance and should relish this test.
Fared best of this field in 3L second to Hunters Call at Ascot just before Christmas, doing well having been too keen early on. Progressive hurdler since joining Evan Williams, who has his team firing right now. Player with just a further 3lb added.
Close third in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham in March and encouraging hurdles return when sixth back there in the Greatwood in November. Well held by plenty of these on subsequent Ascot run, bit to prove now.
Second-season novice, plenty of ability but can be prone to mistakes over the obstacles, which put paid to chances in Lanzarote at Kempton over 2m5f last time. Will need to be foot-perfect in first-time cheekpieces.
Broke his duck over hurdles at the tenth time of asking in a 2m Ludlow maiden last month, blinkers are tried for the first time now but would surely be doing well to make the frame.
Last Year's Winner
|T: N A Twiston-DaviesJ: Sam Twiston-Davies|
Kalashnikov (8/1), Kayf Grace (8/1), Jenkins (8/1), Bleu Et Rouge (10/1), Irish Roe (10/1), High Bridge (12/1), Coeur Blimey (14/1), Verdana Blue (14/1), Lalor (14/1), Knocknanuss (14/1), Silver Streak (16/1), Spiritofthegames (20/1), Lough Derg Spirit (20/1), William H Bonney (20/1), Misterton (20/1), Zalvados (25/1), Moon Racer (25/1), Poppy Kay (25/1), Waterlord (25/1), Remiluc (33/1), Charli Parcs (33/1), Nietzsche (33/1), Project Bluebook (50/1), Divin Bere (50/1)
- Silver Streak
- Irish Roe
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