Conditions will suit John Betjeman who has solid claims on his best hurdle form but he has needed some excuses this year and is still a maiden so it might be worth taking a flyer on TROED Y PARC. The 5yo looked capable of better at Taunton after getting badly hampered in the early stages and there should be more to come from him. George Of Hearts is an interesting recruit but he seems to have lost his way on the Flat.
This isn’t strong at all and if settling better than he did at Chepstow then BREWERS PROJECT has the ability to win it well. Masteroftheheights is next best, ahead of the hurdling newcomers Graces Order and Steady The Ship.
Unexposed 5yo Coconut Splash made a good start to his chasing career in October and is respected but this interesting novices’ handicap might go to GETAWAY FRED, who arguably ran better than his finishing position suggests when fifth here last month and has become well handicapped on some of last season’s novice hurdle form. Lust For Glory is next on the list.
Here Comes McCoy looked as though he still had more to offer when winning recently but he might struggle to give 6lb to SIZABLE SAM, who ran well despite finding 2m5f further than ideal here last month. Earth Lord also merits respect ahead of Roque It.
Jessica Rabbit beat a next-time-out winner to score at Doncaster last month but, with today’s slower ground not sure to suit, preference is for BALLADAME (nap), who ran well in defeat in her first two handicaps and is not yet fully exposed. Sawpit Sienna has the potential to build upon her Fakenham success if suited by the combination of slower ground and a right-handed track here. Spirit Of Rome can also feature.
Native Robin and Flagrant Delitiep are closely matched on their recent C&D encounter, and the third Lots Of Luck shouldn’t be far off where they finish. All three can be competitive, but on the back of a break VOCALISER is not without hope of extending his winning sequence to four off what remains a manageable mark.
If he can cope with the ground then FRIEND OR FOE could easily gain compensation for getting nabbed on the line at Huntingdon, where he travelled like a horse ahead of his mark. Hollywood Ken has bumped into major improvers on his last two runs over hurdles and is feared most, though a few of these are interesting.
There’s a reason why recent winning hurdler First Man is rated so much lower over fences, while Big Time Frank just doesn’t win. Cucklington could be interesting back here but the suggestion is SILENT ENCORE, who got competitive too far out at Lingfield and didn’t run badly in the circumstances.
The Racing Post’s tips at Wincanton on Tuesday
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