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* UPDATE: Today’s meeting at Hereford has been abandoned after failing an inspection.
A good physical type, Storm Force Ben was beaten only by two race-fit rivals on his return to action at Chepstow in November, shaping as if better for the run. He stepped up on that effort when finishing runner-up at Exeter earlier this month, probably a little flattered to finish as close as he did to the winner, who made a big mistake at the last, but still pulling 11 lengths clear of the remainder of the field. He holds big claims if able to build on that performance, particularly with this step up in trip likely to prove a positive move.
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Pemberley, who improved over hurdles last season, winning at this venue in fact, shaped with encouragement on his chasing debut at Fontwell in November, just lacking in both fitness and experience as he finished third behind Mister Murchan. He reversed the form with that rival at Huntingdon last time, but came up short against one who came in for a good ride, staying on in the latter stages after being outpace on the home turn. He shaped like a strong stayer on that occasion, so this stiffer test should be right up his alley, and he looks competitive based on the form he has showed both over hurdles and in his two starts over fences.
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Champagnesupernova is clearly the one to beat in this field, a useful bumper winner who got his career firmly back on track with a convincing victory at Ayr last time, and he will certainly take plenty of stopping under a penalty, but the market looks to have his number, so it could be worth siding with Precious Eleanor at a bigger price.
Precious Eleanor ran up to her best when runner-up at Ludlow last month, and that effort is well worth marking up given she was taken around the churned up inside, whereas the well-treated winner went much wider on better ground. She should go well again, and is in fact only rated 1 lb lower than Champagnesupernova on Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings, so looks worth chancing.
Timeform’s 3 best bets at Hereford on Sunday
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