Preview and best bets for Newbury coral Gold Cup meeting on Friday

Check out the ITV3 races from Newbury on Friday as Ben Linfoot guides you through the action including an 18/1 tip in the finale.

STAY AWAY FAY – 1.20 Newbury

Five races from Newbury form Friday’s ITV3 offering and there’s not much to go on in the opening Coral Get Closer To The Action Novices’ Hurdle.

Nicky Henderson’s Russian Ruler sets the form standard after his fifth in the Grade 2 Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton in February, but it would be no surprise if something surpassed that level here.

Paul Nicholls has won this race the last two years with Stage Star and Bravemansgame, so his point-to-point recruit STAY AWAY FAY has to be respected, especially if the market speaks in his favor.

STAGE STAR – 1.55 Newbury

Talking of STAGE STAR, he can land the Grade 2 Coral Racing Club Novices’ Chase for Nicholls and Harry Cobden. Last season’s Challow winner looked a natural on his chasing debut at Warwick, jumping well on his way to a decisive win over West Cork at a track that is a tough test for novices.

Nicholls last won this race with Clan Des Obeaux in 2016 but in Stage Star he’s found another big gun that can go a long way in the chasing game.

THE WIDDOW MAKER – 2.30 Newbury

THE WIDDOW MAKER shaped well over an inadequate two miles on his reappearance at Cheltenham and he can land the Coral Bet Bundles Handicap Chase.

Joe Tizzard’s horse improved for the switch to fences last season, but all of his runs were over trips around 2m4f and it wasn’t a surprise that he was outpaced over two last month.

He still looked on good terms with himself and he dropped a few pounds, too, so he’s of interest now he steps back up in distance.

THOMAS DARBY – 3.05 Newbury

It’s difficult to know what we’ll get from Paisley Park and Champ these days so the Coral Long Distance Hurdle is a tricky puzzle to try and unravel.

However, the aforementioned duo take plenty out of the market and the percentage call is to take them on with last year’s winner THOMAS DARBY preferred at bigger prices.

He was beaten 10 lengths by Proschema at Wetherby but he got a 6lb pull at the weights and he came on plenty for his first run last year.

Indeed, it would be no surprise if he posted a career best on his second start back from wind surgery with that Wetherby second under his belt and that could well be good enough here.

I’ll leave him out of the staking plan at the current 8/1 but if he drifts to 10s he’s worth a bet.

BARBADOS BUCK’S – 3.40 Newbury

Nicholls could have a very good day at Newbury and his Shearer heads the betting for the Coral Committed To Safer Gambling Handicap Hurdle at 3.40.

He’s the likely favorite but he’s not one to rely on at relatively short odds and his presence in the line-up means we’re getting some tasty prices about the other Nicholls-trained horses.

The one that stands out is the 18/1 about BARBADOS BUCK’Sas he looked a horse of some potential when he ran away with a Kempton novice hurdle in January of last year.

Things didn’t pan out for him over fences after that, but he returns fresh from wind surgery and his reduced rating of 128 gives him the look of a well-handicapped horse, despite what his trainer says.

To underline the point he beat Slipway giving him 10lb over hurdles and Fantastikas giving him 7lb – those two are now both rated in the low-140s.

Published at 1435 GMT on 24/11/22

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