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Despite having to concede weight to his four rivals, STONER’S CHOICE is taken to complete the hat-trick with today’s longer distance likely to suit him down to the ground. Captain Biggles shaped pleasingly at Wetherby and is a big danger, while Grand Lord and No Anxiety are unexposed and cannot be discounted.
Most of these arrive on the back of a good run, with quite a few also having the potential to improve now going up (or back up) in distance. MEEP MEEP hasn’t fulfilled the promise she showed in bumpers, but has improved with each of her three runs for Dan Skelton and kept on well over 2m 5f at Exeter last time.
A Perfect Gift was an eye-catching third at Stratford and is feared most on this first handicap start, with Eyes Right, Sandymount Rose, Lily The Pink and Precious Eleanor other possible players in a wide-open race.
Today’s extra distance could suit the progressive FIRST LORD DE CUET and he is feared most, ahead of Coolanly and No Comment who are reverting to hurdles from fences.
Ballyhome loves it here and has a course and distance win to his name, but has been pulled up on his three other chase starts so isn’t one for maximum confidence. MUCKAMORE makes his chase/handicap debut after just three novice hurdle runs and there can be optimism this point winner will improve now switched to fences.
Minella Encore and No Getaway could go well on their chase debuts, while Siannes Star could improve for the step back up in trip, but the main threat to the selection could come from the unexposed point winner Evander in the expectation he needed last month’s chase/seasonal debut.
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This looks a much easier race than the Sedgefield contest in which OUTCROP (NAP) finished second on his recent chase debut and he can go one better. Fort De L’Ocean ran well over hurdles last time and could be best of the rest in first-time cheekpieces.
This female jockeys’ race revolves around IVORS INVOLVEMENT, whose clear-cut win last week came out of the blue. He’s not guaranteed to repeat the form but if he does, he’ll be difficult to beat – and in Bryony Frost he has an ideal partner.
Crackdeloust is perhaps the likeliest to capitalise if Ivors Involvement fails to fire, while Sweeping Rock can make the frame again. Lonimoss Bareliere needs monitoring in the market.
Translink was first past the post at Hereford last time (demoted due to interference), but this looks a hotter race and Stratford runner-up Luttrell Lad could prove best of those with experience. However, there are also some interesting newcomers and preference is for the well-bred DOCTOR KEN, whose trainer Olly Murphy does very well in bumpers. Dan Skelton is 6-20 (30%) in bumpers here in the past five seasons and Finistere is respected on debut, but the main threat could come from Luttrell Lad.
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