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STRAW FAN JACK showed much improved form to get off the mark at Hereford in October, staying on well to see off a subsequent winner. He backed that up with a cracking run to finish second on his handicap debut at Ascot later the same month, nearly taking advantage of the winner’s greenness and finishing clear of the rest.
Straw Fan Jack then improved again to defy a penalty by a very wide margin at Aintree in December, confirming himself a nicely progressive hurdler with a dominant performance, again staying on well. He arrives here fresh and looks to be in with a cracking chance of going in again.
EBONY GALE underwent a breathing operation following a below par performance at Taunton in November and, that, along with the application of a tongue strap, seemed to prove the key to him as he showed improved form to open his account over fences at the same venue earlier this month.
He overcome a couple of significant errors and proving himself at the trip. A 4lbs rise for that success seems fair, and with the quicker ground certainly not an issue, he looks well placed to bring up a quick-fire double.
A three-time winner in 2018, VIVE LE ROI found only one too good in the Listed Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton in January 2020. He has been shaping up quite well this term, including when sixth at Newbury last time.
He shaped as if better for the run after 11 weeks off on that occasion, holding his own for a long way and leaving the impression there could still be a win or two in him yet. He is back on a tempting mark and makes plenty of appeal on these terms.
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