Umbrigado made giant strides in his first season over fences last term, completing the hat-trick when landing the prestigious Greatwood Gold Cup over this course and distance in March. It looked like a good renewal of the race and Umbrigado deserves plenty of credit for winning as he came from further back than any of the other trio who came clear off a modest gallop.
Umbrigado disappointed in the Grade 1 Manifesto Novices' Chase on his only subsequent start last season but he is now back in handicap company and only 2 lb higher than for his Greatwood Gold Cup success.
He should be spot on for this task as he has had a couple of spins over hurdles this season, stepping up on his Ffos Las reappearance when third at Bangor a couple of weeks ago.
Tea Clipper developed into a useful and consistent handicap hurdler last season and he looks set to make an even bigger impact over fences based on the good impression he made when scoring on his chasing debut at Chepstow last month.
Tea Clipper was up against a much more experienced rival on ground - described by Timeform as good to firm - that would have made for a sharper test of speed than ideal.
However, he showed a fantastic attitude to stick with the bold-jumping Fidelio Vallis and his stamina kicked in late on to forge three lengths clear. Tea Clipper should derive plenty of benefit from that initial experience and the slightly easier ground at Newbury on Friday should enable him to raise his game.
He is still only six and is relatively lightly raced so has not shown everything that he has to offer.
Paisley Park found a steadily-run three miles around Wetherby's sharp track putting too much emphasis on speed on his reappearance in the West Yorkshire Hurdle, but he kept on strongly in third there - in a race won by the reopposing Indefatigable - and should be presented with a more suitable test at Newbury on Friday.
He has a good record around Newbury - a track famed for its galloping nature and long straight - and won the Long Distance Hurdle in 2019 before running to a similar level in defeat behind Thyme Hill last year.
Paisley Park may not be capable of running to the same sort of level as he did when sweeping all before him in the 2018/19 campaign, but he remains a high-class hurdler and even the form he showed last season identifies him as the one to beat. He ought to have come on for his reappearance at Wetherby last month and the application of cheekpieces, which may sharpen him up, also looks like a positive move.
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