A field of eleven go to post for the penultimate race of the day at Newton Abbot on their evening card on Tuesday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Out of the weights when a good third over course and distance on his latest start, KARL MARX is in the same position again but this looks a very weak field and he can capitalise to notch up a sixth career victory. He kept on well on that latest start and if given a more positive time this time around off a good mark, he should be making his presence felt with a seven pound claimer taking lots of weight off his back. Bistouri D’Honore remains risky after pulling up the last twice and isn’t guaranteed to appreciate this drop back in trip so if back at his best, perhaps Tricky can claim second place.
1 BISTOURI D’HONORE – Paul Nicholls’ five year old who has been a tricky customer the last thrice, well beaten at Musselburgh before pulling up at both Taunton and Wincanton in subsequent runs. He’s now down another pound in the handicap which is more than fair on the back of his novice form, but he remains risky on what he has shown in handicaps. Conditions will suit and Bryony Frost takes off a useful three pounds, but whether a drop back to two miles will suit is certainly up for debate. Both his previous runs and pedigree suggest he needs further and he seems likely to be outpaced when it matters most.
2 HAZAMAR – Won three starts ago at Ludlow in a Juvenile Hurdle when well in command but things haven’t been straight forward since he has switched to handicaps the last twice, well beaten at both Sandown and Cartmel. He weakened tamely when headed on his latest run so a slight drop back in trip with better conditions should suit, though he does have something to prove off only two pounds lower. Others higher on the list.
3 TRICKY – Ran a solid race when second at Worcester on his penultimate start and his chasing debut on his latest start didn’t go to plan when well beaten at the same venue three weeks later. Those runs however came nearly a year ago and it’s hard to know what sort of form he will be returning in, so the market is likely the best guide in that respect. If returning at the same level as his latest hurdling run in similar conditions he certainly has place claims under Natalie Parker.
4 BILLY MY BOY – Course and distance winner back in May 2015 who has run well on two of his last three runs, winning at Chepstow three starts ago and he wasn’t necessarily disgraced when a long third at Worcester on his penultimate run. He was outpaced a long way from home when only fifth at Uttoxeter when last seen which is disheartening and although a mark of 107 is achievable at his best, it’s hard to be confident.
5 SCORPION STAR – Inconsistent type for Martin Hill has been lightly raced, still a maiden after eleven rules starts. He returned from a near two year absence from rules races when second at Sedgefield over fences on his penultimate start but was nowhere near as good when pulled up at this venue over further last month, weakening tamely when asked for an effort. He returns to hurdling off the same mark and there are more questions marks than positives for this eight year old. Likely to come home strongly if they go off quick but should just miss out on the placings.
6 NICE THOUGHTS – Finished a good second at Ffos Las in May 2016 over this sort of distance but he has been decidedly poor in four subsequent runs for David Pipe, never seemingly travelling when pulled up at Bangor in February. He returns from a four month break today off only a three pound lower mark and although conditions are likely to suit, he remains a risky proposition to back. Others make more appeal.
7 HURRICANE RIDGE – Last seen over a year ago, with his latest hurdling run coming in March 2016 where he was never travelling and pulled up at three out and he has a huge amount to prove. He was last seen 52 days ago when third in a point to point and he’ll need to build on that to feature, with this two mile trip far from certain to suit. Hard to see him playing a leading role when all is said and done.
8 MOOJANED – NR.
9 GUANCIALE – Better known over fences for Dai Burchell, winning twice over the larger obstacles since November and posting a good run when third in handicap company back in May. He makes his first hurdling start since October, where he was pulled up at Stratford when fading tamely after being ridden in a similar race to this and more is needed off a mark of 94. Conditions will be fine and Jodie Hughes takes off three pounds, but there are likely to be other days.
10 EQULEUS – Another inconsistent runner whose record of 0802006 speaks for itself, well beaten on his latest start at Worcester when always in the rear and he was tailed off before the fifth hurdle. He remains on the same mark and is impossible to fancy.
11 TRIGGYWINKLE – Has run well the last thrice for Laura Young, finishing third at both Worcester and Towcester before a game second here two weeks ago, keeping on stoutly after being headed to finish clear in that position. Those efforts however were over fences and she makes her hurdling debut today off a mark of 87, which sees her five pounds higher than she was over fences and she is in fact out of the handicap. Conditions will suit and she has a 7lb claimer on board so she certainly has a place chance, but it’s hard to know what to expect from her.
12 KARL MARX – Out of the handicap for Mark Gillard but he ran a sound race when last seen over course and distance three weeks ago, finishing third after keeping on too late in the day. That form is unlikely to be good enough for win purposes though and more is needed on balance. Others make more appeal.