Nicky Henderson has unleashed some of his better prospects in this race in recent years – notably two-time Champion Hurdle winner Buveur d’Air – and FLINTEUR SACRE is a fascinating hurdling debutant. A brother to Sprinter Sacre, he came on a bundle for his debut when winning a bumper at Kempton with any amount in hand at Kempton in February, and he is a very exciting prospect now sent hurdling.
ANEMOI defied a 550-day absence when making a winning return over hurdles at Wetherby in October and followed up on chasing debut at Chepstow earlier this month. He was allowed to set a steady pace on that occasion, but there was plenty to like about his attitude, headed two out but rallying well to regain the lead near the finish. The handicapper has only raised him 3 lb for that effort but there should be more to come from Anemoi and he is expected to go close in a competitive race.
BRAVEMANSGAME made a highly encouraging start over hurdles when finishing runner-up to a promising sort at Chepstow in October and built on that promise when going one place better at Exeter earlier this month. He won by 11 lengths that day from a subsequent winner, but had even more in hand than that margin suggests, drawing clear between the last two flights and wasn’t asked to extend after the last. Bravemansgame looks a smart prospect and is strongly fancied to win again.
Fiddlerontheroof is sure to be popular in this intriguing contest but preference is for CARIBEAN BOY, who looked a smart prospect when winning a novice handicap chase at Haydock on his final start last season. That form has been franked by the runner-up since, and Caribean Boy looked very assured on just his second start over fences, travelling well and jumping accurately. There should be plenty more to come from him for top connections.
A competitive handicap chase where SAN BENEDETO is fancied to come out on top. His last win came in a similar event over this course and distance in March 2019, and he is best not judged too harshly on his latest start at Market Rasen in June, not always fluent at his fences but still travelling well on the home turn before his stamina seemingly failed over a longer trip. San Benedeto is now back down to his last winning mark, has ground conditions in his favour, and represents a yard that remain in top form.
This looks a fascinating race with the unexposed pair of McFabulous and Thyme Hill challenging the likes of Summerville Boy and PAISLEY PARK. The latter is the price he is because of his disappointing display in the Stayers’ Hurdle on his final start, but he was unbeatable in this division beforehand and is excused that effort as a result. The pick of his form still sets a tall standard and Paisley Park is fully expected to bounce back to form.
HILL SIXTEEN bolted up on his debut for Nigel Twiston-Davies in a handicap chase at Ffos Las last week and makes obvious appeal switched to hurdles from a 3 lb lower mark. He looked a different proposition after 10 months off, routing his rivals by 46 lengths, and the step up to three miles won’t bother him back over timber.
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