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Bass Rock sets a fair standard on his second in a course and distance novice on his British debut last month and he’s open to more progress. Bumper winners Wellntyne and The Caretaker are interesting recruits to hurdling, while Honda Fifty was only beaten a nose in his last two bumpers and he’s also respected on his first run in this sphere. However, the vote goes to SEVERANCE, who has plenty of useful form at up to 1m 4f on the Flat and could have a good future over hurdles for his new yard.
All of the runners showed useful form over hurdles, but most of them have a bit to prove on one count or another at present. The most solid option is ELF DE RE, who kicked off his chase career with a fair third behind a smart rival here last month and is open to progress on this step back up in trip.
The main threat could come from One Night In Milan, who didn’t get very far on his chase debut at Wetherby, but he’s a half-brother to Native River and should have a good future in this sphere.
Dual-purpose performer Champagne Terri is still unexposed in this sphere and looks interesting on her handicap hurdle debut. Maid O’Malley ran well on her chase debut last time and is respected back over hurdles, while C&D winner Methodtothemadness could make a bold bid on her drop back in trip. However, it might be worth be siding with the very lightly raced BURROWS DIAMOND, who showed clear promise in a novice here last month and is bred to be much better than her opening mark.
The Evan Williams-trained ESPRIT DU LARGE made it two falls in a row when coming down in the Haldon Gold Cup last week, but he is the clear pick at the weights here on his Grade 1 win at Sandown last December and should be hard to beat if he can put in a clear round. The pick of the opposition is useful triple hurdle winner Whoshotthesheriff, who ran right up to his best on his chase/seasonal debut when runner-up in a C&D handicap last month.
It’s hard to rule out any of the runners, but preference is for O’HANRAHAN BRIDGE. He has finished runner-up in all of his five hurdles runs, including at this track on his seasonal return last month.
He looks on a workable mark for this handicap debut and could find more progress on the step up to 3m. Scottish Accent has finished placed at staying trips on testing ground in both his handicaps in this sphere and he looks the main danger on his switch back to hurdling.
The one that appeals most is ARTICLE FIFTY (NAP), who jumped to the right for most of the way at Kelso in his final run last season, but still managed to score with authority on that third attempt over fences. This seven-year-old still looks feasibly treated on his reappearance and is open to further progress now returned to a stiffer stamina test on a clockwise track. The main danger is Ryalex, who won this race in 2018 and is well handicapped if he takes another step back in the right direction after wind surgery.
Grumpy McGrumpface sets a fair standard on his second at Ayr last November, but he didn’t fire in his final run last season and has a bit to prove after another absence. Barrichello showed promise in his sole Irish point and has a bumper winner on his dam’s side, while Ben Pauling’s debutant Del La Mar Rocket also needs a close look in the market. However, the vote goes to another newcomer in BARNABAS COLLINS, who has a striking pedigree and represents a yard with a record of 7-18 in bumpers at this track.
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