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It’s hard to get away from IBLEO. He is a very unexposed for an eight-year-old, who has only had nine career starts over jumps and five over fences – and has never been out of the top two in those.
He won his first two handicaps over testing ground at marks of 112 and 118, both over two miles. He’s been second three times since, and that form is decent. He was second to Canelo, who’s gone up 23lbs in the interim.
He was beaten by a short head by Amoola Gold, who was then bested by First Flow in a close finish, and was second to Sky Pirate who has bags of potential. It was 10 lengths back to the third in that, so at 140, Ibleo is still well handicapped and should take some beating.
This is a deadly race, and you can use different formulas to try and work out who has the best form. Metier is obvious as he’s been very impressive a couple of timesm though is a bit underexposed. Adrimel is a non-runner and was a decent price at around 6/1, but I’d go for SMURPHY ENKI as an each-way punt. I wouldn’t fancy him for winning bigger races, but he has it in him to do something special and Saturday could be the day.
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This is a tricky race with a lot of veterans and you could make a case for a lot of them. I’m going to go for one in relatively good form, and that’s POTTERS LEGEND for Lucy Wadham.
He was quite impressive up at Warwick in November winning off a mark of 130. He went to Cheltenham from there and was second off 135 to Storm Control. He’s running off the same mark here and looks a worthy each-way shot.
I’ll go for HIGHWAY ONE O TWO here for Chris Gordon. He’s a trainer I have a lot of time for, and this is another one I’m tipping up who hasn’t really taken to chasing, after falling and unseated his rider in two starts. That’s why he’s going back over hurdles.
He has only had three runs over them and won them all very impressively, including a Grade 2 last season where he beat Buzz, Benson and Kid Commando. You’d think a mark of 145 is very steep, but it could be workable for him and I wouldn’t be surprised if he went off favourite for this.
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