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Newbury Preview: Rhythm Star can shine on handicap debut

Trainer Jamie Snowdon has his team in good form and his Rhythm Star looks weighted to take all the beating on handicap debut in the 2m 5f hurdle contest at Newbury today (5.20).

The mare looked a smart sort when unbeaten in two bumper runs at the beginning of last year and came good at the second time of asking over hurdles when cruising home by seven lengths at Huntingdon.

Rhythm Star has since run well to be placed in three subsequent outings, often travelling strongly but not finding as much as expected at the business end off affairs.

The better ground today may well enable the five-year-old to see out the race proper, and the fitting of the cheekpieces for the first time looks a smart move by connections.

Although turned over at 4/7 last time out when runner-up to Streets Of Promise at Wincanton, the winner is a very promising type who has gone on to follow-up in facile fashion and Rhythm Star finished 1/2 a length in front of a 122-rated rival.

That run reads well in the contest of this contest and suggests that Rhythm Star could well have got in lightly off an opening mark of 115.

In the 2m 5f handicap hurdle earlier on the card (3.05), the well-treated Katgary can get back to winning ways now eased in grade and fitted with the cheekpieces for the first time.

The Paul Nicholls’ trained gelding put in a cracking performance when a 3/4 length runner-up to Hawk High in the class 1 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last year off a mark of 130, and arguably would have won had he not been hampered two from home.

The five-year-old backed that up with a solid sixth of 22 to Court Minstrel at Aintree off 137, before disappointing in his next three starts.

However, there was much more to like about Katgary’s effort last time out at Kempton when keeping on nicely to finish a never nearer sixth of 17 to Theinval in a class 2 contest.

That run suggested the son of Ballingarry was coming back to form, and the fitting of the headgear this afternoon looks a shrewd move as Katgary tended to race lazily in the contest.

The assessor has also been kind in dropping Katgary another 1lb to 131, and that gives him major claims at the weights in this lower grade class 3 affair based on his run in the Fred Winter.

Selections:

2.30: Might Bite

3.05: Katgary (NB)

3.40: Owen Na View

4.10: Red Devil Star

4.45: Champagne Rian

5.20: Rhythm Star (NAP)