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The two bumper scorers look the most likely winners here and with his point-to-point experience SMURPHY ENKI is preferred to the well-related Seelotmorebusiness.
It was a bad race that Spirit Of Rome won at Fontwell and she’s not only 9lb higher here, but also without the benefit of a capable 7lb claimer. Khanisari is also opposed on this ground, so a chance is taken with FLINTROCK. He’s a maiden over hurdles but hasn’t had many opportunities under these conditions, which he handled when showing good form on the Flat. Goodgirlteresa is the second choice.
This looks weaker than division one. MANINTHESHADOWS had essentially been disappointing over hurdles, but 3m appeared a stretch on his handicap debut and his bumper runs were promising. Mac Amara is dropping in the weights and is second call, ahead of Darksideoftarnside.
This looks quite interesting and though last year’s winner Big Meadow should run well again, the choice is SIGN OF WAR who is unexposed as a chaser and ran well over hurdles last time.
The Anthony Honeyball stable is in fine form and KILCONNY BRIDGE (NAP) is taken to maintain her winning run by accounting for Precious Eleanor and Royal Claret.
This looks a very strong novice handicap that last year went to subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner Simply The Betts. Talking of whom, the same connections are this time represented by ANEMOI and this chasing debutant, who looked on good terms with himself back from an absence at Wetherby, has long been held in the highest regard. Coconut Splash is feared most, ahead of Glajou and Garry Clermont.
There’s no desire to take on BREWERS PROJECT, who has the best form of these and probably the most potential. To Be Sure shaped well for a long way here a month ago and could be second best, while Oscar Elite needs respecting after the form of his point win received a boost at Wincanton on Saturday.
Who knows what lurks amongst the newcomers (with Nicholls and Lacey represented), but SLIP ROAD had two subsequent maiden hurdle winners ahead of him when fourth in a Listed bumper at Limerick and the booking of Richard Johnson for this Irish import bodes well. Theme Tune looks a nice prospect also.
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