SEVERANCE was a useful performer on the Flat for Mick Channon, and looked a natural switched to hurdles when making a winning debut at Carlisle earlier this month. He was exuberant – as he was on the Flat – in the hood but could hardly have won any easier and this sharper test could see him in a better light. This represents a much tougher assignment, but he looks ready for it and is one to be interested in.
SECRET REPRIEVE belied big odds to win a heavy-ground novice hurdle on his debut over obstacles at Chepstow in 2018/19, and he made a reasonable start over fences last season, finishing runner-up on his last two starts. He was expected to push his only rival closer over two and a half miles here last time, but he should find that experience aiding his development, and that form has taken a boost since. An opening mark of 130 should see him be competitive now handicapping, while the step up in trip will also suit.
Admittedly, MASTER TOMMYTUCKER comes with risks attached given he is prone to making mistakes at his fences, but he has looked above average each time he has completed in this sphere, and looks the one to beat on form here. He stripped fitter for his reappearance when bolting up in a match at Huntingdon earlier this month, and the return to a left-handed track should suit given he can jump to the left at his fences. There are some unexposed chasers in the field, but Master Tommytucker has the ability to scale greater heights.
This looks very competitive, and a tentative vote goes to the Jonjo O’Neill-trained ARRIVEDERCI, who proved his opening mark a lenient one when making a winning return at Wetherby last month. He impressed with both the way he travelled and found in the closing stages, forging clear of the runner-up after the last. He is now 8 lb higher in the weights and in a better race, but Arrivederci is firmly on the upgrade and should be very competitive. Kid Commando was impressive also on his return at Ascot and looks a big danger now moving up in trip (has stamina in his pedigree).
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IMPERIAL ALCAZAR developed into a useful novice last season, finishing runner-up to the now-smart chaser Protektorat in a novice at Cheltenham before signing off with his second win of the campaign at Leicester in January. His absence since is a slight concern, but he represents a yard that has a good record with horses returning from a lay-off, and given the prize on offer here he will likely be fully tuned up. The handicapper hasn’t overreacted to last season’s form and Imperial Alcazar looks a very interesting contender.
Only five runners in this reneal, but it is high on quality and looks a cracking contest. Last year LOSTINTRANSLATION was given a confident ride and proved much too classy for Bristol de Mai, who is a two-time winner of the race and has an excellent record at Haydock. Another bold bid can be expected from him, but Lostintranslation is fancied to win again, after leaving the impression he wasn’t suited by the stamina test the Gold Cup brings when last seen at the Cheltenham Festival.
Colin Tizzard is starting to hit form following a slow start to the campaign and Lostintranslation can prove himself one of the best staying chasers around. Clan des Obeaux could only finish fourth in this race in 2018, but he has since won the King George at Kempton twice, so has to be feared also.
FINANCIAL OUTCOME made a pleasing reappearance when runner-up to Kings Monarch at Ffos Las and can have his Wetherby run easily excused, a terrible mistake on the first circuit ending his chances. A chance is taken on him to get back on track and turn the tables on his old rival, who finished this in this race 12 months ago and also boasts solid claims.
Timeform’s Tips at Haydock on Saturday
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