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Trooper Turnbull was short-headed over course and distance in October and has the best hurdle form, while Honda Fifty and Esme Shelby are open to improvement on their second hurdle starts. However, GRUMPY MCGRUMPFACE‘s best bumper form, a second place at Ayr last November, reads well in today’s context. Last month’s reappearance at Carlisle may have got the freshness out of him (raced freely). He’s taken to make a winning hurdle debut
October’s C&D maiden hurdle winner Saint Arvans has been found a weak race for his handicap debut, but needs to transfer his recent improvement back to slower ground. Conditions will be fine for VENGEUR DE GUYE, a dual course chase winner who has a lower rating over hurdles, and he is the pick. Coup De Gold could also be in the mix.
Having returned from a huge absence with a promising second at Newcastle last month, the well-handicapped DOKTOR GLAZ is taken build on that run and go one better today. Dolly Dancer is an interesting runner now back in a handicap following last Sunday’s creditable performance in a Listed mares’ chase at Carlisle. The Delray Munky, Caventara and Millarville are others to consider in an open race, while Craiganboy could have a big say if consenting to start.
Having won in good style in a maiden hurdle at Ayr in October, WILD POLLY is taken to follow up under a 6lb penalty. Bourbon Beauty and Southern Girl were both second to odds-on favourites last time out and are the likely dangers, with Warwick runner-up Bourbon Beauty feared most.
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Last year’s runner-up BIG BAD DREAM runs off the same mark today and can go one better, having reappeared with a solid effort here last month. The Nick Alexander-trained Artic Mann went very close here last time, but the main threat could come from stablemate Arnica.
He showed promise last season and has had excuses on his first two handicap outings this autumn. The Silver Prince could appreciate the step up in trip on handicap debut.
There is a large degree of uncertainty about this race because while Mighty Thunder has a stiff task in theory under his double penalty, those with a much better chance on their best form are far from certain to reproduce it. MINELLA ENCORE can probably step up from what he showed on his chase debut, so he gets the tentative vote. Elf De Re and Mahlervous would go very well if they showed their best.
The move up from 3m 2f in this race last year resulted in a dominant performance from BIGIRONONHISHIP (NAP) and a further career best may well be in the offing judged on last month’s reappearance. Inexperience over fences is the concern with Iwilldoit, who appears to have easily the most potential in this field and is probably the chief danger granted a tidy round of jumping.
Duc De Grissay though, could also be potent with this greater slog back on softer ground. Just Your Type was second last year and has each-way claims again, while Looking Well is capable of a bold show if he can avoid one of his fairly regular mishaps.
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