Paul Nicholls: Cheltenham form entitles Hell Red to win Newton Abbot opener

Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls
Paul Nicholls has four runners at Newton Abbot on Saturday

As we head into Grand National week Paul Nicholls has just four runners at Newton Abbot on Saturday, but he's confident of starting the card with a winner...

"Best chance: Hell Red - 13:15. He really should be winning this on the strength of his good run at Cheltenham."

Needs a top four finish to qualify for Sandown

13:55 - Celestial Force

He carries a double penalty and is likely to need this outing on his return from a winter break after a busy time last autumn when he won twice and was also placed several times. He has had a wind op since his last race and needs to finish in the first four in this to qualify for the valuable novice championship final at Sandown in three weeks time.

Has thrived since Cheltenham and conditions will suit

13:55 - Hell Red

He had a wind op earlier this year and it was a bit of a rush to give him a third start at Wincanton that he needed to qualify for the Boodles at Cheltenham where he ran very well to finish ninth. Hell Red has thrived since then, will enjoy both the drying ground and flat track at Newton Abbot and should win this while qualifying for the novice championship final at Sandown.

Hoping for more progress

15:40 - Stanley Stanley

She is a work in progress and was all at sea on her debut in a bumper at Kempton where she was hanging left-handed the whole way. Stanley Stanley was much happier going left-handed last time at Doncaster on her first start over hurdles where she jumped well and showed a bit of promise in keeping on at one pace to finish fourth. I'm hoping she can progress again at Newton Abbot.

Ground, track and trip look ideal for him

17:25 - Eritage

He made a bright start over fences with a pleasing victory at Ludlow in October but has struggled a bit on soft ground more recently. He wants the good ground he will get at Newton Abbot, the track will suit him well and the trip of two miles, five furlongs is ideal. With plenty in his favour I am looking for a decent run from Eritage.

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