Course winner Calum Gilhooley ought to be a tough nut to crack, while Irish point winner The Bees Knees has shown enough in two bumpers this year to suggest he can also feature but EYE OF AN EAGLE probably should have won at Fontwell three weeks ago and can atone here. Dual Topham Chase winner Ultragold is well into the veteran stage now and his current hurdling ability is very hard to gauge, but he warrants consideration at this level.
Wells De Lune and Lovato will find this much easier than their recent assignments but both have been out of sorts this summer and the tentative selection is PERCY STREET, who flopped badly on his latest outing but ran well in defeat in two handicaps last month. It’s slightly unnerving to see recent C&D maiden winner Horse Force One dropped to this grade so quickly but he’s a very likely contender if in similar form again.
Charlie Longsdon’s DARIYA drew a long way clear (albeit from some disappointing rivals) to win in a good time at Stratford on Saturday and can complete a quick double off the same mark here. C&D winner Saintbury Lady is 2-2 since switched to handicaps and is feared most but Cotton End produced a good performance to win here last week, while cases can also be made for Dylan’s Sea Song and handicap debutante Gaot.
There could still be more to come from Yeavering Belle, who had to settle for second off today’s mark last time but was unbeaten over hurdles before that. However, STORY OF FRIENDS (nap) took his form to a new level when winning comfortably over C&D a week ago and remains unexposed over staying trips. Ballon Onabudget is next on the list.
Mon Palois was set to win anyway before being left clear at Stratford three weeks ago and should also be suited by today’s faster ground but CHELTENHAM DE VAIGE might collect his third C&D win of the season. Fergal O’Brien’s 8yo suffered a setback when only fourth at Sedgefield recently but not much went right for him there, and he still ran well enough to suggest he remains in good form. Paul Nicholls’ chasing debutante Parody also makes the shortlist.
Despite having to race from 3lb out of the weights it might be worth chancing BLUEBELL SALLY, who is still unexposed in this discipline and would probably have finished in front of Love The Leader if she’d stayed upright at Southwell last time. Hurricane Arcadio is a solid alternative. Imperial Nemesis is slightly more speculative but will be respected if the market speaks favourably.
Fergal O’Brien’s new recruit LONG STAY was placed in an Irish point last year and, with his very good Flat pedigree in mind, there must be a good chance he can win a bumper. He gets the nod ahead of Hey Joe, who displayed ability in what was almost certainly a stronger race than this at Sandown last season. C&D winner Little Jessture can go well again, while Bebraveforglory also makes appeal.
The Racing Post’s tips for Newton Abbot on Tuesday
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