‘It was tough’ – Newbury delighted with Friday’s fields despite worrying about the weather | Horse racing news

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Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Newbury’s Coral Gold Cup meet starts on Friday
Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

        Written by Matt Rennie        <time datetime="2022-11-23T14:24:13+00:00" class="timeStamp">
Updated: 2:24 PM, November 23, 2022</time>





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    Newbury is hopeful that field sizes for the opening Friday meeting of the Coral Gold Cup will not be reduced due to drying conditions on race day after the ticket attracted more declared horses than the corresponding match last year.

Recent rains, plus an unusually dry summer and early autumn, have hampered meetings in Britain this month, with Newbury’s jump opening on November 3 among those affected.

However, the Friday card, which has two Division II divisions including the long-distance race, has attracted 63 potential runners in seven races, compared to 56 announced for the same stage in 2021.

The ground is still good ahead of the track’s main jumps meeting and although rain is forecast for Thursday and watering will continue, track writer Keith Ottesen warned that dry conditions will be in store from Friday.

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Newbury writer Keith Ottesen: “There’s more rain tomorrow afternoon and evening but that’s it. We’ll announce on good ground, but it will dry up by Friday morning”
Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

He said: ‘We had 8mm on Wednesday morning, but now it’s bright and breezy. We call it good ground and we’ll keep watering it to keep that up.

“It will rain tomorrow afternoon and evening, but that’s it. We’ll announce on good ground, but it will be dry on Friday morning.”

Last Saturday’s Ascot card was depleted to just 30 runners, with a run in the Novices’ Handicap chase seeing star names Constitution Hill, Edwardston and Lumber Brace miss out on their intended returns after contacts deemed conditions too fast.

“We will have to wait for the evidence of that day,” Ottesen said. “It was a very difficult period to run the ground and we are doing everything we can to keep it the way it is now.

“We’ve kept the same streak all week that it’s probably a good ground.

“Hopefully the fields will keep the same numbers they are at at the moment and take their chances on good ground, and we hope that the right horses will be running the right races on the ground.”

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Thomas Darby (second right) and Paisley Park (second left): in opposition again on Friday

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                <p>Thomas Darby (second right) and Paisley Park (second left): in opposition again on Friday
                Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)</p></div>

A field of six has been announced for the Coral Long Distance Hurdle feature (3.05), including superstar Paisley Park, who won the race in 2019 and finished third last year.

The 10-year-old will face last year’s winner Thomas Darby again as well as the reigning Long Walk Hurdle Champ, who is also back.

Proschema, easy winner of the West Yorkshire Hurdle last time out, moved on to more Grade 2 glory, with the top level winning chaser Dashel Drasher and Tea Clipper completing the field.

Also on the card is the Warwick Prize winning Stage Star running in the Grade 2 Coral Racing Club Novices’ Chase (1.55) and already has a strong form at Newbury, having won the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle last December.

a hero Jonjo O’Neal Jr
Paisley Park Aidan Coleman
Proschema Harry Skelton
Thomas Darby Sean Bowen
Dashiell Dracher Rex Dingle
Tea cutting machine Stan Sheppard

coral: 15-8 Proschema, 5-2 Champ, 5 Paisley Park, 11-2 Dashel Drasher, 7 Thomas Darby, 20 Tea Clipper

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