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Just as he had on his bumper debut last season, CASTLE RUSHEN made a successful start to his hurdles career at this venue last month. He was outpaced slightly by the runner-up after the second last, but staying on to forge ahead in the final 100 yards. This step up in trip looks a positive move, and with further improvement sure to come, Castle Rushen gets the vote to make it two-from-two in this sphere.
A fairly useful bumper winner last term, UNOHU produced a promising first effort over hurdles when second at Ffos Las earlier this month, no match for the odds-on winner but pulling nicely clear of the remainder. This looks a good opportunity for him to go one better.
SKIPTHESCALES arrives here in good form, and with little to separate this field in terms of Timeform weight-adjusted ratings, he gets the vote to regain the winning thread. Skipthescales led for a long way when finishing fifth over this course and distance last month, not beaten far in the end. He has cheekpieces back on now and he is expected to be bang there from an unchanged mark.
A winner on his hurdle debut last season, EMPIRE STEEL was gambled on ahead of his chase debut at this venue last month. He duly made a successful start to life over the larger obstacles and relished the test as he produced a strong-staying display. He is likely to go on improving as his stamina is drawn out, so he holds solid claims now upped in trip.
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DON’T NEED TO KNOW made a promising start to his chasing career when second at Kelso last month, beaten only by one ridden much more patiently in a race that proved a good test. Although he failed to build on that at Newcastle last time, he did shape second best for much of the way. Epsom Des Mottes did beat him fair and square on that occasion, but this drop in trip should suit Don’t Need To Know more than his reopposing rival. He is taken to reverse the form and open his account.
DOYEN BREED showed decent enough aptitude for hurdling for Lucy Normile last season, but he showed much improved form on his debut for Sandy Thomas at Wetherby last time, finding just one too good on his first foray into handicap company. He is entitled to build on that effort and should be opening his account in this sphere before long.
FLY BY MILAN sets the form standard in this contest, and barring one of the newcomers proving above-average, he should be capable of getting off the mark at the second attempt. Fly By Milan looked a likely sort on paper ahead of his debut at this venue last month, and he duly showed plenty of ability, just unable to reel in the well-ridden winner. He tops the shortlist with improvement anticipated.
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