Friday 22nd March 2019
There’s a tidy little Class 2 Handicap to be had at Newbury this afternoon which takes place at 4.30 which is contested over a distance of just over two miles. One of my favourite National Hunt horses in training is set to take his place here for only his third start of the season and that’s the Dan Skelton trained NUBE NEGRA. He’s a horse that quite uniquely originates from Spain and he comes here for only his third start of the campaign after what was a promising start to life on UK soil last term which saw him finish third in last season’s Fred Winter at The Festival. He started off this term with an eighth placed effort in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham where he travelled strongly through a lot of the race before fading up the hill, similar to what he did in the Fred Winter at The Festival just a few months prior. He was brought down on his latest outing at Taunton in a contest similar to this, he seemed to still be going well enough at the time and it remains to be seen whether he would of played a part at the business end of things and mounted a challenge to the eventual winner Capitane. I think he can bounce back to the form we saw him in last season and put in a bold bid here on a track that should be more to his liking, this is however a competitive field so he’ll need to be somewhere near his best.
The main dangers in the field look to be headed by the Nicky Henderson trained Sunshade who’s three out five for Seven Barrows having won his first three starts. His latest outing saw him finish ninth in a Grade 2 here behind subsequent Mares Hurdle winner Roksana. Maquisard, Zanza and William H Bonney all come here with viable chances and a mention also needs to be given to the seemingly Skelton second string Late Night Lily. It’s almost certain that she needed the run here last time coming back off a lay off and likely to be a lot more tuned up this time around. She’s certainly not one to rule out.
WIN: Nube Negra (9/4)