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ADAGIO looked potentially useful in making a successful hurdle debut on his first start in the UK last month, knowing his job well as he landed a Warwick juvenile hurdle with plenty to spare. He improved further to finish runner-up in a Grade 2 at this venue last time, his relative lack of experience compared to the winner a factor in his defeat. He sets the standard on that form and is the one they all have to beat.
For all that he lost his unbeaten record, CHANTRY HOUSE ran well to finish third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Although he wasn’t quite foot perfect, he made a highly satisfactory start to his chasing career at Ascot last month – finding loads in the straight to run out a comfortable winner. He is an exciting prospect who looks set to take high rank amongst the British-trained novice chasers.
IBELO improved race-by-race over fences last season, winning two of his three outings. After eight months off, he continued his progression at Ascot in October, going down fighting only to a race-fit rival. It is unlikely he is finished improving just yet and, with a run now under his belt, he rates a big player.
CEPAGE clearly has a liking for Cheltenham, six of his last seven races all coming at this venue. This race in particular has been a favourite of his, hitting the frame in the last two renewals. Cepage landed a course-and-distance handicap here in January, before signing off for the season with a good seventh in the Ultima at the Festival. He is a consistent performer and has a good record when fresh, so must holds leading claims on his reappearance.
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A winning Irish pointer, ASHTOWN LAD has made good progress over hurdles this season. Getting off the mark at the second attempt, before taking a major step forward to follow up on his handicap debut at Uttoxeter in October – scoring with plenty in hand. There is probably better still to come from him, and he is certainly one to keep on the right side.
GOSHEN would have run out a convincing winner of the Triumph Hurdle, taking his tally to four from four over hurdles, but for unseating is rider at the final flight. Although his two Flat runs this season have been underwhelming to say the least, he could still be a hurdler out of the top drawer. He will prove difficult to beat if showing anything like the form he did over obstacles last term.
A fair bumper winner, AGGY WITH IT has progressed well over hurdles this term, going one better than her reappearance to open her account at Market Rasen in October. She did not need to improve on that effort to go in again at Taunton last month, winning with a bit in hand on both occasions. She is clearly trending the right way at present and makes plenty of appeal on her handicap debut.
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