As we head into Grand National week Paul Nicholls has just four runners at Newton Abbot on Saturday, but he’s confident of starting the card with a winner…
“Best chance: Hell Red – 13:15. He really should be winning this on the strength of his good run at Cheltenham.”
Needs a top four finish to qualify for Sandown
13:55 – Celestial Force
He carries a double penalty and is likely to need this outing on his return from a winter break after a busy time last autumn when he won twice and was also placed several times. He has had a wind op since his last race and needs to finish in the first four in this to qualify for the valuable novice championship final at Sandown in three weeks time.
Has thrived since Cheltenham and conditions will suit
13:55 – Hell Red
He had a wind op earlier this year and it was a bit of a rush to give him a third start at Wincanton that he needed to qualify for the Boodles at Cheltenham where he ran very well to finish ninth. Hell Red has thrived since then, will enjoy both the drying ground and flat track at Newton Abbot and should win this while qualifying for the novice championship final at Sandown.
Hoping for more progress
15:40 – Stanley Stanley
She is a work in progress and was all at sea on her debut in a bumper at Kempton where she was hanging left-handed the whole way. Stanley Stanley was much happier going left-handed last time at Doncaster on her first start over hurdles where she jumped well and showed a bit of promise in keeping on at one pace to finish fourth. I’m hoping she can progress again at Newton Abbot.
Ground, track and trip look ideal for him
17:25 – Eritage
He made a bright start over fences with a pleasing victory at Ludlow in October but has struggled a bit on soft ground more recently. He wants the good ground he will get at Newton Abbot, the track will suit him well and the trip of two miles, five furlongs is ideal. With plenty in his favour I am looking for a decent run from Eritage.