Philip Hobbs saddles a rare runner at Sedgefield, where he has a record of 3-11 (27%), and useful French Flat recruit CAMPROND has an excellent opportunity to get off the mark over hurdles at the second attempt. Point winner Pay The Piper is narrowly preferred as the pick of the remainder, ahead of Carlisle third Word Has It.
Point and bumper winner ALAPHILIPPE scored in good style on last month’s hurdle debut at Ayr and can maintain his unbeaten rules record today. Falcone De Bersy, Time Leader and Won’t Talk are all viable options for the forecast, and point winner Won’t Talk could be the pick of this trio on his second rules start.
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She’s a 15-race maiden but POTTLEREAGHEXPRESS brings by far the strongest credentials as she arrives in good form and is effective in the conditions. Frankie Ballou has had excuses on both runs this season and could be the main danger off a handy mark.
Rebecca Menzies has her horses running well and ROAD WARRIOR is taken to gain a deserved first win at the 19th attempt, having been a good second last time out. Cybalko won here twice this autumn and is feared most, ahead of Honourary Gift who also likes it here.
Having bumped into the much-improved Sehayli at Hereford last time out, 1m6f Flat winner WINDS OF FIRE is taken to go one better now up in trip. Hart Of Steel is another for whom today’s extra distance could be a plus and this progressive 5yo is feared most, ahead of two-time C&D winner Red Reminder.
The one to beat here has to be CRACKDELOUST (nap) who is able to race off the same mark as when comfortably landing an Ayr conditional jockeys’ event last week on his first outing for new trainer Andrew Wilson. Adelphi Prince and Goldrapper have knocked on the door in similar events and ought to figure again.
It will be no surprise if C&D winner Flexi Furlough bounces back from her Kelso disappointment but it’s hard to be confident on the back of that and she’s unraced on slow ground. Good Look Charm was a promising fourth at Wetherby on her debut and is very much respected, but preference is for rules newcomer FONZERELLI who won her sole point start in Ireland.