There should be plenty of pointers for the future as Newbury stages its first Jump fixture of the season tomorrow, with an informative seven-race programme card getting underway at 12.40pm.
A talented field of nine has assembled for the most valuable race of the day, the £20,000 CSP Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (2.25pm) over an extended two miles. Cap Soleil won this race 12 months ago before finishing second to Laurina in the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Duhallow Gesture (Anthony Honeyball/Aidan Coleman) took high rank in the mares’ bumper division last season, following up a Listed success at Huntingdon in December with a good third in the mares’ champion bumper at Aintree’s Grand National Festival in April.
Posh Trish (Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden), who captured a Listed bumper at Cheltenham last November, Sula Island (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) and Our Dot’s Baby (Jeremy Scott/Nick Scholfield) have all scored on their respective hurdling debuts this season.
Bumper winners Lust For Glory (Nicky Henderson/Jeremiah McGrath) and Indefatigable (Paul Webber/Gavin Sheehan) are both having their first starts over hurdles.
Indefatigable started her career in Ireland with trainer Sam Curling and finished a close third behind subsequent Champion Bumper winner Relegate at Punchestown in January, before dead-heating on her first start for current connections in a bumper at Southwell in April.
Trainer Paul Webber said today: “Indefatigable has schooled nicely.
“Her form in Ireland with Relegate is obviously good and I think she will appreciate the nice, galloping two miles tomorrow more than the two miles around Southwell in her bumper. I hope she can run well and finish in the first four.
“She is by Schiaparelli from a staying pedigree, so I could see her stepping up to two and half miles at some point during the season.”
Elsewhere on the card, highly-regarded bumper winners Garrettstown (Olly Murphy/Richard Johnson) and Mister Fisher (Nicky Henderson/James Bowen) feature among 16 runners in the Agetur UK Novices’ Hurdle (1.15pm) over an extended two miles. Champion Jump trainer Nicky Henderson took the contest in 2017 with Claimantakinforgan.
Mersey Novices’ Hurdle runner-up Lostintranslation (Colin Tizzard/Robbie Power) and high-class mare La Bague Au Roi (Warren Greatrex/Richard Johnson) begin their chasing careers in the KKA-Highpoint Beginners’ Chase (1.50pm, six runners) over an extended two and three-quarter miles. The 152-rated hurdler Thomas Campbell (Nicky Henderson/James Bowen) and Talkischeap (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) also run.
Ladbrokes Trophy contender Dingo Dollar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson), a wide margin winner over fences at Newbury in December, reappears over hurdles in the £15,000 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (2.55pm, 14 runners) over three miles, a qualifier for the final at the Cheltenham Festival. Bottom-weight Ready And Able (Jonjo O’Neill/Jonjo O’Neill jnr) turns out quickly after readily completing a three-timer in a conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle at Aintree.
The action is completed by the Fuller’s Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (12.40pm, seven runners), the Dawnus Handicap Chase (3.30pm, 13 runners) and the concluding British Horse Society Celebrating 70 Years NH Flat Race (4.00pm, 15 runners).
The going at Newbury is Good to Soft, Good in places on the hurdle course and Good, Good to Soft in places on the chase course.