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May 03, 2016

Newton Abbot Racecourse Preview Wednesday 4 May 2016

Paul Nicholls, who saw off the challenge of Irishman Willie Mullins to secure his tenth trainers championship on the final day of the 2015/16 season, has a host of entries at Newton Abbot’s two-day meeting on Wednesday and Thursday as he seeks to land yet another title.

Totesport sponsor all seven races on Wednesday’s card, including the feature £25,000 totepool Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs. The consistent Voix D’Eau could land this big prize for trainer Harry Fry, although he would have to defy another rise in the weights after his latest success at Cheltenham, a race that could hold the key to this afternoon’s contest.

Nicholls has entered three, including Art Mauresque, who finished just one and a half lengths behind Voix D’Eau and now has a 3lb pull in the weights. Fourth that day was Cloud Creeper, trained by Philip Hobbs, who also has Carrigmorna King, a winner at Taunton last month.

The meeting gets underway at 2.00pm with the totepool Racing’s Biggest Supporter Novices’ Hurdle over an extended two miles, for which there are 28 entries headed by Ozzie The Oscar, who would be seeking a four-timer for Hobbs.

Nicholls again has three, including ex-French horse Black Corton, who got off the mark for the stable at the second attempt at Exeter. Mr Kite, formerly trained by Mick Channon, was beaten a long way behind Emerging Talent on his debut for the Fry stable at Taunton, weakening after the second-last flight after racing keenly. If he can learn to settle, he has the ability to take a race of this kind.

Dual winner Red Tornado, who is trained by Dan Skelton and provided his jockey brother Harry with a career milestone when bringing up his maiden century of winners at Sedgefield last month, looks on the upgrade and could land his hat-trick on a course that should suit him.

Next up is the totepoolliveinfo.com Beginners´ Chase in which Nicholls has Abidjan, a course winner over hurdles. He looks an interesting recruit to the bigger obstacles and should be up to winning this. The Saint James, who recovered from a blunder at half-way to finish runner-up to Zamdy Man at Uttoxeter, could be the danger.

The highlight of Thursday’s card is the Class 2 attheraces.com Handicap Hurdle for which Nicky Henderson’s three-time winner Theinval has been allotted top weight, just above Starchitect, who has gone close in three valuable races since joining David Pipe.

One of a large string of horses owned by Paul and Clare Rooney, Starchitect has been raised 8lbs in the weights for those placed efforts, but could still prove too good for his rivals. Libeccico, who has won three of his last four races for trainer Charlie Mann, is another who has seen his handicap mark rise and would have to overcome a 7lb hike in the weights for his latest success at Plumpton.

Satellite Information Services sponsor five of the seven races at the meeting which kicks off with the SIS Stream “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle at 2.20pm for which Nicholls has four entries. Hobbs is also well represented with three and looks to have the stronger hand.