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He was lucky to win a match over course and distance in February, but HEARTBREAK KID was still running a good race when the leader fell at the final flight. He is narrowly preferred to fellow novice hurdle winner Check My Pulse.
Things may have clicked for the six-year-old Armattiekan, who was an easy winner at Musselburgh last week, and he’ll be tough to beat under a 7lb penalty if reproducing that form today. However, the forecast slower ground may be a negative and preference is for ROAD WARRIOR, who was in good form last month and could capitalise on the drop back in trip. There wasn’t much between Muroor, Grand Coureur and Cybalko over C&D last Thursday, although Muroor has a 7lb penalty today.
The mare HOT GOSSIP returned to form with a win here last Thursday and today’s 6lbs higher mark may not prevent a follow up. Red Ochre was a good second at Hexham last time out and is feared most, ahead of the in-form Plenty Of Butty. The September C&D contest in which Sea Art and Island Villa were third and fourth respectively has worked out really well, and they’re also respected.
ZAMARKHAN was awarded a C&D contest in September, having been badly hampered by the erratic first-past-the-post Major Snugfit, and they reoppose. Zamarkhan remains well treated but is unproven on slow ground, while dual Flat winner Major Snugfit was probably helped that day by some hurdles being omitted (low sun). C&D winner Millie The Minx is another to consider, but Zamarkhan is feared most.
Monbeg Theatre is a solid candidate having won at Hereford last time out, but this could go to JACK DEVINE (NAP), who showed promise on last season’s two chase runs and was a good second over hurdles most recently. The third runner, Welsh National fourth Prime Venture, is also respected.
Dual point winner Etoile Du Matin brings potential to this rules debut, but it may be best to concentrate on the top two, who possess solid placed form over hurdles. AFRICAN DANCE could improve for the step up in trip having kept on well over 2m at Ludlow last time and he is narrowly preferred to course bumper winner C’Est Le Bonheur
Event Of Sivola leaves the impression this trip is worth a go and merits plenty of respect, but preference is for BOBMAHLEY who should relish this trip the way he stayed on for third on his 2m 6f Stratford chase debut/reappearance and can prove too strong for this largely much more exposed opposition. For Jim could have a say if his jumping holds up better than last time, while the class-dropping Ecossais is worth monitoring for signs of market support.
It’s worth taking a chance on TEMPLE MAN reproducing his Kelso form at this track. He appeared to have improved for wind surgery when a good second at the Borders venue last time and looks open to further progress. Oksana has C&D form and is likely to bounce back from last week’s fall at Market Rasen. She is the biggest danger ahead of Iolani.
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