A field of eight go to post as we kick of the action at Newcastle on Tuesday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: This is a very weak race, much weaker than the one where AIRPUR DESBOIS finished second in last time out at Uttoxeter, benefiting from the headgear combination put on by new connections. That was his first start this calendar year and he should have gained a lot from it, with almost identical conditions today to what he faced last time out. Couple that with the fact he remains on the same mark as his latest run and he should be more than capable of dispatching this field, with his opposition all seemingly having questions to answer. His main challenger is likely to be Broadway Belle, who is of some interest back up in trip.
1 AIRPUR DESBOIS – The new combination of headgear from his new yard worked wonders for this lightly raced seven year old on stable debut for Oliver Greenall when finishing second at Uttoxeter last month in a much stronger race than this (2m 3f, Heavy). He remains on the same mark for today’s outing and should have benefited hugely from that run, with it being his first this calendar year. He has almost identical conditions for today’s run and it’d be quite the surprise if he was unable to go one better in this field.
2 SILVERTON – Inconsistent ten year old who was soundly out of form last year, well beaten when last seen at Ayr in December (2m 5f, Heavy), pulled up at a reasonably early stage over fences. Back over hurdles now off a mark of 85, which is 10lb below her chasing mark. She is however a maiden in this code after eleven runs, hitting the frame off much higher marks in 2014. Hard to make a case for her though in her current vein of form and is likely best watched returning after a seventy-eight day lay off.
3 RINNAGREE ROSIE – Another for Lucy Normile who is on a good mark at present, now down to a rating of 86, a career low. She ran a good race in similar conditions back in April (2m 4f, Soft) when second at Hexham, but has failed to replicate that run in two runs this season, last seen well beaten at Ayr in January (2m 4f, Soft). The forecasted poor conditions may spark some sort of revival and if it does she is certainly well handicapped to do so. Interesting runner under Grant Cockburn and deserves a second look.
4 KNOCKNAMONA – Yet to win after seven attempts over hurdles and hasn’t shown much to suggest he’s coming to the boil, unable to get involved when sixth at Sedgefield a month ago (2m 3f, Heavy). He is likely to need more if he’s to threaten today, though the handicapper has given him a chance by lowering him 4lb. Micky Hammond’s yard has quite the flat spot at present with no winners from his last twenty-seven runners, which does have to be taken into account too. Possible place contender but hard to see him taking home the victory.
5 BROADWAY BELLE – Unexposed seven year old who wasn’t disgraced on his second run after a long break, finishing eight but running well for a long way under today’s rider at Wetherby (2m, Good to Soft). The return to this trip is interesting as his pedigree suggests she should appreciate it, though the heavier ground does present a question mark. This is a weak race though and she has to enter calculations for the placings if building on that latest run, and deserves a second look.
6 MOOTABAR – Dual hurdle winner in 2013 but has been sparsely raced since 2014, with only three runs since the end of the 2014 season. He returned this season when well beaten here over the two mile trip, struggling from a very early stage (pulled up before the fifth fence). Hard to make any sort of case for him and he is another in this field who has lots to do for Chris Fairhurst. Finian O’Toole takes the ride but he dismissed for today.
7 NEXT HIGHT – Beaten out of sight by Broadway Belle when last seen at Wetherby two weeks ago, and looks to be up against it again today for Jonathan Haynes. Almost impossible to see him reversing those placings, despite now being on a mark of 68 which is 21lb below his only winning one. He did win in heavy ground that day but it was over three years ago and he has clearly taken a downturn since then. Such is the nature of this race that he can be given a small place chance, but he would be a shock winner of this.
8 BEYONDTHEFLAME – Seven year old who has shown nothing under rules, in both bumpers and over timber. She managed to finish his latest start here over the two mile trip which is an achievement by her standards, albeit finishing 104 lengths behind after losing touch after just three hurdles. Impossible to make a case for her, even in a race as weak as this.