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ALOOMOMO ended a long losing run with a commanding display over fences at Kelso last January, getting off the mark for Sandy Thomson at the second attempt. He has remained in good heart for this yard since, including when regaining the winning thread on his return to action in a novice hurdle at Kelso in November.
Aloomomo was strong in the betting after eight months off and he probably didn’t need to improve to get off the mark as a hurdler, produced to lead between the final two flights and ridden out to win by just under 3 lengths. He reverts to fences here and has plenty of handicapping scope based on his old form in this sphere, so he is a confident selection to make a successful return to chasing.
A dual novice winner last term, including once at this venue, ASHINGTON – who was fit from a couple of spins on the Flat during the autumn – shaped well on his return to hurdling at Cheltenham in October. He did well to finish as close as he did to the front pair, doing the best of those caught up in the melee.
He rather disappointed at Doncaster when sent off the favourite subsequently, but there is a feeling that he is still on a good mark and he holds solid claims starting out for Brian Ellison’s yard. His best performances have come at this venue, aside from his win he also finished second in this race last year. He produced a career-best performance on that occasion, and there is no reason to think he won’t go well again.
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A competitive-looking race in which a case can be made for plenty of the runners, Balranald looking the most solid option following his excellent third here last time. But, HONDA FIFTY makes his handicap debut and remains with the potential for further improvement (denoted by the Timeform small ‘p’ attached to his rating), so could be worth chancing from an each-way perspective.
After showing promise on all three starts in bumpers, Honda Fifty has twice hit the frame in maiden hurdles – including when fourth at Kelso last time (things not going completely his way on that occasion either). He appeals as the type to do much better now sent handicapping and is certainly not one to rule out.
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