Paisley Park returns to the track at Newbury on Friday
Paisley Park returns to the track at Newbury on Friday

Newbury's Winter Carnival gets underway on Friday afternoon with the first of two days of classy jumps racing at the Berkshire venue.

There is a double helping of Grade 2 action on Friday's card, including Paisley Park's appearance in the Long Distance Hurdle at 3pm.

Conditions are set to be 'Good to soft-good in places' on day one, with the seven-race card underway from 12.10pm until 3.35pm — and we have picked out five horses for you to follow. 

12.10pm - Watch Racing Free Online At Ladbrokes Novices' Hurdle (2m4½f)

Paul Nicholls will be hoping Stage Star can land the spoils at Newbury on Friday
Paul Nicholls will be hoping Stage Star can land the spoils at Newbury on Friday

There are promising novices' on display here. 

Unanswered Prayers has 'won' both starts over timber, although he lost last month's Warwick win in the stewards' room after bumping the runner-up late on.

He had got to the front nicely before idling and could be a key player again. Nicky Henderson's newcomer Kincardine and David Pipe's Bumpy Johnson add intrigue. 

But STAGE STAR was intelligent in bumpers last season for champion trainer Paul Nicholls and made a smooth winning start over hurdles at Chepstow last month.

Last season, the Ditcheat supremo won this with Bravemansgame and he is holding the ace again in the Newbury Winter Carnival opener.

LiveScore selection: Stage Star

12.40pm - Ladbrokes Committed To Safer Gambling Novices' Chase (Grade 2, 2m4f)

There are four runners and all of them have valid claims in this Grade 2 contest. 

The three older contenders may do well, however, to concede weight to NASSALAM for Gary Moore. 

The French import was above average over timber last season and could scarcely have been more tenacious when opening his account over fences at the first time of asking at Ascot (2m3f, soft) last month.

Runner-up Solo travelled sweetly into contention and offered Nassalam every chance to fold in the home straight but he battled for Jamie Moore and regained the lead after the last jump. 

He has got scope for better and takes a healthy weight concession from this trio of older rivals.

LiveScore selection: Nassalam

1.15pm - Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football 'National Hunt' Maiden Hurdle (2m)

All eyes on JONBON here, the Walk In The Park gelding having cost owner JP McManus the princely sum of £570,000 at the Goffs UK Sales a year ago after winning an Irish point-to-point. 

A brother to the mighty Douvan, the Nicky Henderson-trained inmate readily landed a bumper here in Mach on his eagerly-anticipated rules bow.

He goes over hurdles now with expectation levels still sky high and is going to draw plenty of attention under Nico de Boinville. 

Good Risk At All won a Listed bumper here in February for Sam Thomas and was second in his hurdles bow at Chepstow this month but will need to be slicker at the jumps to trouble the promising Jonbon.

LiveScore selection: Jonbon

1.50pm - Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boosts Chase (Novices' Limited Handicap Chase, 2m)

Solo went down all guns blazing to Nassalam at Ascot last month and Paul Nicholls' charge is a major contender for compensation now if the drop in trip does not catch him out. 

Mister Coffey is an interesting chasing newcomer but FIFTY BALL is the call for Gary and Jamie Moore.

Second in last season's Betfair Hurdle here, he perhaps did not quite see out 2m4f at Sandown in October's chasing bow as well as winner Minella Trump — an easy winner again since at Catterick for Donald McCain. 

Returning to this trip may suit Fifty Ball more than some of these.

LiveScore selection: Fifty Ball

3pm - Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle (Grade 2, 3m)

Paisley Park had a lack of a prep run to blame when he was beaten by Thyme Hill in this race a year ago but Emma Lavelle's charge does not have that claim now. 

He was only third behind the re-opposing Indefatigable at Wetherby last month. However, there are major questions over the former champion stayer.

He is 6lb better off now and has a pair of cheekpieces fitted for the first time in an attempt to sharpen him up but perhaps the glory days are behind him.

Indefatigable was having only his second start at three miles in that race and is a player but maybe MRS MILNER can show them both a clean pair of heels. 

A Cheltenham Festival winner at this trip in March, she landed a Listed contest at Limerick on her comeback last month (2m6½f, soft). And at six, Paul Nolan's mare is entitled to still be on the upgrade.

LiveScore selection: Mrs Milner

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