Timeform’s Andrew Asquith highlights a Nap, Next Best and Each-Way selection at Newbury.
“…the form isn’t anything special, but the manner of his victory was…”
NAP: A Star is born
Stage Star was one of the best around in bumpers last season and made a deep impression when making a winning start over hurdles at Chepstow last month. He started a heavily odds-on favourite in a maiden hurdle which was essentially full of future handicappers, so the form isn’t anything special, but the manner of his victory was, and he looks set to take high rank in the novice hurdle division this season. Paul Nicholls won this with Bravemansgame 12 months ago and Stage Star could take a fair bit of stopping.
NEXT BEST: A Pipe plot?
Umbrigado proved very progressive in his first campaign over fences last season, completing a hat-trick in the Greatwood Gold Cup over this course and distance in March where he looked well ahead of his mark. The fact he contested the Grade 1 Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree on his next start shows the regard in which he is seemingly held, so he has to be of major interest on his return to fences from just a 2 lb higher mark than for his last success. Umbrigado has had a couple of pipe-openers over hurdles recently, so should be cherry ripe, and this race may have been his main early-season target for some time.
EACH WAY: More to come
This is a competitive handicap to close the card, but there was plenty to like about One For You‘s return to action over this course and distance three weeks ago, and he should be much straighter for that run now. One For You moved through the race as though still on a good mark, just leaving the impression that the run was needed in the closing stages, still in contention approaching the last but tiring on the run-in. Philip Hobbs remains in good form and One For You should make his presence felt.