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Free Thinking can take feature race at Newbury on Saturday

Newbury stages a good quality National Hunt card on Saturday with the feature race being the EBF Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Finale at 2.55. The weights are headed by the tough and consistent Toubeera who has won three races this season for Venetia Williams.

She tried to make all the running at Doncaster last time out but was well beaten by Nicky Henderson’s Mayfair Music. She will probably be held up on Saturday but faces a stiff task conceding 13lbs and upwards to her rivals.

Henderson relies on Free Thinking who was beaten by Bull And Bush at Doncaster in February. That was her first start since November and she may just have needed it.

Sam Waley-Cohen takes off a further 3lbs and the drying ground should also be in her favour. Her best performances have all come on a sound surface including a 13-length victory at Ludlow last November.

Fairytale Theatre has bolted up in her last two starts against modest opposition for Paul Nicholls. She is difficult to assess but does race quite keenly and could be vulnerable over this trip.

Massannie represents the in-form David Pipe stable who was well beaten by Toubeera at Plumpton but has a big pull in the weights. She looked a little reluctant last time out and is passed over here.

Run Ructions Run has not been out of the frame in nine career starts and is an interesting Northern raider for Tim Easterby. She has been raised 8lbs for her latest victory but is not out of it.

Midnight Cataria and The Pirate’s Queen give Alan King a strong hand in the race as he bids to make up for lost time this season. Midnight Cataria looks the type to relish a test of stamina and should be staying on well at the finish.

Fergal O’Brien’s Down Ace ran up a sequence of six wins before finishing down the field behind Quevega at the Cheltenham Festival. Kim Bailey runs Mrs Peachey and Molly’s A Diva while Lily Waugh won last time out for Anthony Honeyball.