Hot novice chase the highlight as jumps action returns to Newbury
Newbury's first jumps meeting of the season features a couple of cracking contests, none more so than the KKA-Highpoint Beginners' Chase (1.50), with four of the six runners competing in Grade 1 company over hurdles last season.
Nicky Henderson has pulled Thomas Campbell out of a couple of potential starts in recent weeks because of the ground, but with the chase course at the Berkshire track good, good to soft in places on Wednesday evening, the six-year-old looks set to belatedly make his first start over fences.
Henderson said: "He’s making his debut over fences and it will be interesting to see how he gets on. We’ve been trying to run him for a few weeks – the ground has been too firm but we’ve got the rain now so we’re going to get out and see what he can do.
Thomas Campbell is unlikely to have it all his own way, with the Colin Tizzard-trained Lostintranslation and Alan King's Talkischeap each in opposition.
Joe Tizzard, assistant and son of Colin, said of Lostintranslation: "He’s schooled really well, he ran in a point-to-point before we had him. We’ve always thought of him as an out and out chaser, he’s schooled really well at home and we’re excited about running him.
"All the races are backing up now so wherever we go it's going to be a hot race, but there’s only six runners and it’ll be a lovely starting point."
Classy mare La Bague Au Roi also makes her chasing debut and trainer Warren Greatrex said: "She’s schooled well and she’s been at Henrietta Knight’s for a week, just to get her eye in. That’s gone well. It’s her first time so it’s important we have a clear round. She was a high-class hurdler, so hopefully she can transfer that to fences.
"I'm really looking forward to it. There's a little bit of apprehension in there as well because you want it to go right. We always thought down the line that this is where she wants to go."
Tizzards seeking black type with Drinks Interval
An impressive victor at Chepstow last month, the Colin Tizzard-trained Drinks Interval tackles Listed company for the first time in the 188bet.co.uk Bud Booth Mares' Chase (2.05) at Market Rasen.
Joe Tizzard said: "She’s three from four over fences as a novice this year. She seems to have improved, she was certainly impressive at Chepstow last time but she was the race-fit horse. This is another step up but it’s a good pot and she’ll hopefully get some black type."
Nicky Henderson also sends Casablanca Mix, second at Kempton last month, up to Market Rasen for the three-mile Listed contest.
The Seven Barrows trainer said: "She ran a very good race on her comeback. She probably just blew up coming to the last and made a bad mistake there and it cost her. We’re upping her in trip but these Listed mares’ chases are very useful."
New trip for Racer
2015 Champion Bumper winner Moon Racer promised so much after his Cheltenham Festival success, but has only had 11 runs in a stop-start career. However, he ended last season on a winning note at Ayr and will step up in trip for the 3m Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (2.55) at Newbury.
His trainer David Pipe, who won the race last year with Dell' Arca, said: "It’s a good starting point, trying to qualify for Cheltenham in March. He improved for the step up in trip at Ayr at the end of last season, giving the impression he’ll get three miles.
"Touch wood, we’ve had a good run with him. It’s nice to get him out on the track. It’s pretty frustrating he’s had so few runs, but he’s been a brilliant horse and hopefully there is still a bit more to come."
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