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Both Finoah and Lissitzky are interesting recruits to hurdling who need watching in the market, while another useful Flat performer Just The Man showed promise with his hurdling debut third at Hereford and looks a likely improver here on his second run after a break. However, it is hard to get away from bumper winner LONG STAY, who kicked off his hurdling career with a clear second at Musselburgh 19 days ago and sets a good standard on that form.
Recent course and distance winner Peter’s Portrait is open to more progress over fences, while Volcano has run well in his two chase starts this autumn and is an interesting contender off a dangerous mark back in a handicap. However, the one that appeals most is MR PALMTREE, who has proved something of a revelation with his smooth wins in staying handicaps this month and may well be able to defy another rise in mark to make it 3-3 since wind surgery.
A fascinating event. Shinobi has to concede 10lb all round, but he’s strongly respected in his bid to make it 3-4 over hurdles. Wildfire Warrior is a big player if he can build on his close call over 2m 5f at Exeter, while the very well-related Sonny Crockett ran much better than his finishing position suggests at Chepstow last month. However, the vote goes to point winner FEDELTA, who sets the standard at the weights on his hurdling debut third here in February and represents a yard that had several winners last week.
Top of the list is ROBINSHILL, who has been resurgent over hurdles in his two starts this season, including an all-the-way win here on his penultimate run. This nine-year-old has a much higher mark to deal with on this switch back to fences, but he’s well treated on his old chase form and can record his second win in this race since 2017. The main danger is Atlantic Storm, who scored on his drop back to 2m at Hereford last month and that form has been boosted by the third since.
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Get The Appeal was travelling best when falling two out at Exeter and she’s a key player here. However, preference is for MR WASHINGTON (NAP), who turned things around back over hurdles for his new yard when landing a gamble in good style at Chepstow two weeks ago.
If Karl’s Berg Did was a creditable second over C&D last time and has each-way claims again. Meanwhile, the other one on the shortlist is Whoopsey, who made some striking late headway from a long way back in a similar 2m 3f event at Ascot last month
Pileon never got going after an early mistake on his reappearance, but he has major claims if returning to form in first-time cheekpieces. On the back of a satisfactory seasonal debut, HOUSE ISLAND is preferred.
Ready preference is for BELATRIX LESTRANGE, who recorded a solid C&D success last month and should be capable of further progress. Second choice is Kabrit, ahead of Alderson, Jimmy Bell and Avantgardist. Last year’s winner Urtheonethatiwant has a stiffer mark this time.
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