Ballyandy is a very smart hurdler who contested some of the top hurdles last season, winning the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock by a nose from Pentland Hills. Good second to subsequent Elite Hurdle winner Sceau Royal back in a handicap on his reappearance at Ffos Las last month. Not handicapped out of things despite top weight.
Tudor City won the Galway Hurdle in 2019 but only raced twice over hurdles since, including when a respectable seventh in the latest renewal of the same race. Very weak in the betting and made no show at Listowel last time but wouldn’t be a surprise to see him more involved here.
Sir Psycho is a four-year-old who won three times last season, including the Victor Ludorum at Haydock, before finishing a good fifth in the Triumph Hurdle at the Festival. Shaped encouragingly when fifth in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow on his reappearance and the drop back in trip looks a plus.
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Harambe won this race at 16/1 last year when beating Gumball by a neck. Was running well when brought down at the last in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in February on only start since. Is 6 lb higher in the weights this year and lacks the prior outing he had 12 months ago.
Edwardstone has raced just four times over hurdles, winning his first two at Wincanton and Aintree. Good effort in a hood when beaten a neck by Stolen Silver in a Grade 2 at Haydock but didn’t see his race out when sixth to Shishkin in the Supreme. Keen type, so big-field handicap should suit and a leading contender for a stable that has won two of the last three renewals.
Sebastopol is lightly raced but won two of his three starts in handicaps last season at Wincanton and Musselburgh. Gives the impression he’ll be suited by further than two miles but is still unexposed and a good record fresh makes him worth a second look.
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Thyme White is an ex-French gelding who won a listed juvenile contest at Musselburgh last term. Much improved when returning with a three-length defeat of The Pink’n in a four-year-old handicap at Chepstow in October after travelling powerfully. Needs to improve again to defy an 11lb higher mark.
Milkwood hasn’t had much racing for a six-year-old and made it two out of four over hurdles when beating Ballinsker hard held by four lengths in an intermediate event at Ffos Las in October. Took strong hold when fourth in Welsh Champion Hurdle there last time but capable of better still.
Hunters Call was the first big winner for this yard when landing a valuable handicap at Ascot in December 2017. Proved at least as good as ever on his first run since when winning a handicap at Southwell off the same mark in July before finishing a creditable fourth in the Galway Hurdle later in the month. Vulnerable to younger rivals.
Just a fair handicapper on the Flat who has won a couple of times at Catterick this year. Cormier as taken well to hurdles, winning a maiden at Uttoxeter and a novice at Fakenham last month, hooded both times. Not that leniently treated for his first handicap but he’s one of the least exposed and connections won this two years ago.
Dual bumper winner when with Fergal O’Brien but has not had much racing since over hurdles. Strong Glance won a conditionals’ race at Market Rasen last term and has returned in good form this autumn, finishing second on his latest start at Aintree.
Tegerek got off the mark over hurdles in a first-time hood at Huntingdon in March and has continued to go the right way. Had the headgear left off when landing a gamble in a conditionals’ event here last month by five and a half lengths from One True King. Not out of it off 8lb higher mark.
Thinking won his only start over hurdles (after one run on the Flat) when landing a juvenile at Vichy for Guy Cherel in August 2018. There’s very little for handicapper to go on, therefore, but he’s taken no chances with him.
Proschema had smart form at up to 2m on the Flat for Tom Dascombe. Has not reached the same level yet over hurdles but is still lightly raced in this sphere and won a novice at Wetherby last term. Shaped encouragingly when second on his handicap debut at the same course on his return last month suggesting there’s more to come, particularly in a well-run race.
Winning pointer who made a successful debut over hurdles in a novice at Ludlow last autumn. Ballinsker has only run twice since and was no match for Milkwood on his return at Ffos Las but he’s better off at the weights this time.
Countister finished a close third in the 2019 County Hurdle but has been lightly raced and not competitive since, including in this race last year. Dropping in the weights but was well held on recent return and hard to weigh up at present.
Pisgah Pike landed the odds in a maiden at Hexham and a novice at Plumpton this autumn but ran his best race in between when beaten a short head by Marine One in a much more competitive listed handicap at Market Rasen. This his toughest task yet.
Long-standing maiden for another yard but The Shunter has proved a different proposition since joining this one and being fitted with a hood, winning a maiden hurdle at Downpatrick and a beginners’ chase at Punchestown in September. Fourth in a useful 2m4f novice chase at Cork last time but hard to be sure how he’ll cope in a very different race here.
Timeform’s analyst verdict
An ultra-competitive handicap but Edwardstone looks most interesting making his handicap debut for Alan King, who has won two of the last three renewals. Proschema still has scope to do better over hurdles given his smart Flat form so is feared most, although Tegerek won well at the last meeting here so commands respect too.
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