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Listed runner-up Her Indoors sets the standard on British hurdling form, but she’s taking on a couple of very interesting French recruits, namely Heross Du Seuil and SIROCO JO. Slight preference is for Siroco Jo, but the market should help to firm up what’s expected. Ambassador and Honneur D’Ajonc are others to consider in an interesting juvenile hurdle.
This should provide more of a test for SHISHKIN than his chasing debut here last month, but his form is already comfortably better than anything his rivals can offer and he would be open to the greatest amount of further improvement to boot. It is hard to see past him.
Gumball has the sort of attacking style to suit this track and is given preference in the race for second, ahead of Elusive Belle who had plenty go her way last time. Even outsider Tamaroc Du Mathan seems likely to have his day in Graded company, but he will need to improve in order not to finish last.
Ben Case won this last year with Coded Message, who is not ruled out back over hurdles having failed to take to chasing. But, this could go to her stablemate MIDNIGHTREFLECTION. She pulled clear with a highly progressive winner at Ascot last month and had plenty in hand when scoring at Plumpton next time.
There are several dangers in this wide-open race, headed by Molly Ollys Wishes who could improve again now that she is upped in trip. Bannixtown Glory and Emmpressive Lady are also respected.
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The question over whether ALTIOR is regressing will not go away. It is probably reasonable to assume he is not quite the irresistible force of old, but that may not stop him from maintaining his unbeaten record at around this trip over fences. It certainly seems likely that there will be plenty of pace on, which should suit the former champion.
The race for second could well swing on how Harry Cobden rides Duc Des Genievres as Kempton ought to reward the sort of aggression he showed at Cheltenham. Otherwise, Rouge Vif has the most appealing profile, while a resurgent Sceau Royal carrying no penalties would be a danger to all.
Things finally fell into place over fences for Darlac at Wincanton and he has good claims, but ROYAL PAGAILLE (NAP) filled the eye when winning at Haydock and he looks a promising staying chaser in the making.
Cap Du Nord impressed at Newbury, but it remains to be seen whether those patient tactics will work as well round here and his jumping is still on the rough-and-ready side. Adrien Du Pont appeals most of the remainder.
There are plenty to consider in this quality handicap but top of the list is TORIGNI, a French import who made such a promising British debut at Wetherby in a race that’s worked out well. Sternrubin was running a big race on his return at Cheltenham when departing two flights out and he’s second choice, ahead of the promising Cadzand.
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