Seven races at Newton Abbot today kick off with the Newquay Zoo National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle over two miles three furlongs and heading the entries is Nigel Twiston-Davies’ exciting prospect The New One.
He is likely to start a warm favourite on his hurdles debut on the back of his Grade Two bumper success at Aintree in April. The highly-rated youngster scored at Cheltenham’s New Year’s Day meeting, and Twiston-Davies always rated him as a “serious horse.” A run at the Festival’s champion bumper resulted in sixth place before he reaffirmed his potential at Aintree.
Four go in the two-mile Paignton Zoo Novices’ Chase with the Paul Nicholls-trained Jump City another likely warm favourite on his first start over fences. A three-times winner under Rules, he concluded last season with an easy win at the course in two miles three furlongs novices hurdle.
With Fergal O’Brien enjoying such a good run of form, Gud Day is likely to start favourite in the two miles one-furlong Jack Bevan Bookmaker Novices’ Handicap Hurdle. The four-year-old carries a seven pounds penalty for his easy success at Uttoxeter last month where he beat Shaback Hom by 13 lengths.
The highly-consistent The Lemonpie could also feature. He won a handicap hurdle at Les Landes in August but a subsequent run on the flat at Chepstow saw him finish well down the field.
Mibleu ran out an easy winner of a handicap chase at the course last month, and he has gone up nine pounds in the handicap for his troubles, but a good bit of improvement would need to come from his three opponents for them to trouble him in the Olive and Jack Oliver Memorial Handicap Chase, with Moulin De La Croix perhaps able to put a poor run at Ffos Las behind him to give him most trouble.
John Llewellyn was disappointed with Rime Avec Gentil following his defeat at the course last week, when his stable-mate Going Nowhere Fast came home in front, but the seven-year-old could make amends in the two miles three furlongs Newton Abbot Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle.
Kijivu is also an interesting runner. Tipped up in this column as a horse to note on her racecourse return in August, she finished fourth and will have improved for the appearance.
Chris Gordon is rapidly climbing the training ranks and Absolute Shambles can add to his credentials in the Go Greene Machine Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase. A mistake at the last may have cost him the race in Newton Abbot, but with a decent round of jumping, he should be the one to beat here.
Bazart carries a seven pounds penalty for his easy success at Plumpton last month, and if repeats that form looks hard to beat in the Living Coasts Handicap Hurdle.