Top Gamble was victorious on Betfred Day in 2015
Newbury Racecourse stages its opening fixture of 2017 tomorrow, Wednesday, January 18, with a six-race card starting at 1.15pm.
One of the highlights is the £10,000 Betfred Mobile Novices’ Handicap Chase (2.20pm, six runners) over an extended two miles, which went the way of high-class chaser Top Gamble in 2015 (pictured).
Red Devil Star (Suzy Smith/Micheal Nolan, 10st 10lb) is bidding for back-to-back wins over fences following a neck victory over Champagne At Tara (Jonjo O’Neill/Barry Geraghty, 11st 8lb) in a novices’ handicap chase at Ascot on December 16.
Red Devil Star was runner-up in a similar contest at Wincanton in November before finishing third in an open handicap chase at Sandown Park on December 2.
Trainer Suzy Smith, who is based at Lewes in East Sussex, said today: “I was really pleased with Red Devil Star at Ascot.
“I think in an ideal world, he probably wants a furlong or two further than tomorrow’s trip but the fact the ground is soft may just help him.
“We meet Champagne At Tara again and I suppose it is slightly unfortunate we can’t use Jack Sherwood again to take off three pounds. But Micheal Nolan knows Red Devil Star very well, having won on him over hurdles.
“We are going there with a good chance and hopefully he will be bang there at the finish.”
Tomorrow’s line-up is completed by Max Ward (Tom George/Adrian Heskin, 11st 7lb), who was not disgraced on his penultimate start when third in the Grade One Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown Park, Theatre Flame (David Bridgwater/Tom Scudamore, 10st 12lb), Britanio Bello (Gary Moore/Jamie Moore, 10st 3lb) and Zigger Zagger (Richard Rowe/Andrew Glassonbury, 10st 3lb).
A competitive field of 14 is set to line up in the £10,000 Betfred “Treble Odds On All Lucky 15s” Handicap Chase (2.55pm) over just shy of three miles.
Once-raced chaser Rathlin Rose (David Pipe/Michael Heard (5), 11st 10lb) has his first start since winning at Wetherby in May, 2015, while Brandon Hill (Tom Lacey/Noel Fehily, 11st 9lb) is bidding for consecutive victories after scoring at Warwick in December.
The action concludes at 3.55pm with the Betfred TV Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (16 runners).
Newbury will then race on February 11, Betfair Super Saturday, which offers a feast of top-quality action. In addition to the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle, Britain’s richest handicap hurdle, other highlights include the G2 £50,000 Betfair Denman Chase and the £50,000 G2 Betfair Exchange Game Spirit Chase.