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THEME TUNE has taken really well to hurdles this year, opening his account over obstacles at Ludlow in January before following up under a penalty at Carlisle last time. Admittedly, he made hard work of it last time. But, the fact that he was still able to win despite a shoddy round of jumping marks him down as remaining capable of better. He almost certainly possesses plenty of stamina, and his opening BHA mark of 125 looks workable.
A winner in both point and hurdle spheres, ST BARTS confirmed the promise of his chasing debut when opening his account over fences at Newbury in December. He made all before being driven out to win. That was his third win in six runs under Rules, and with improvement anticipated, he gets the vote to enhance that record here.
ILLEGAL MODEL made a winning start to life under Rules in good style when landing a Lingfield novice hurdle in January 2020. He has made a solid start to life in handicap this term, producing creditable performances in each of his three outings.
He caught the eye when fourth at Chepstow last time, shaping as though there’s a bigger performance in the locker, and given he remains relatively unexposed. He gets the vote to show the improvement needed to regain the winning thread.
TIME TO GET UP showed signs of promise for Joseph O’Brien in his three starts in Ireland. He has built on that since being sent chasing for the Jonjo O’Neill yard this term, readily getting off the mark at Wincanton last month.
He looked suited by the longer trip on that occasion, winning comfortably and looking well ahead of his mark. This further step up in trip could eke out more improvement, and he is still a very much an unexposed sort who could well have a big handicap like this in him.
After producing a promising first effort in a Fontwell bumper in November, GULLIVER COLLONGES made an inauspicious start to life over hurdles when pulled up at Carlisle last month – something clearly amiss on his first race for three months.
He proved an entirely different prospect just nine days on at Chepstow though, showing much improved form to finish second. That performance much more in line with the promise he had shown in his bumper. He is open to improvement now he’s up and running and is taken to open his account.
CAPE FAIR hit the frame in a couple of handicaps over this course and distance towards the end of last year and could be worth siding with to put up another big effort at this track. Having been given a chance by the handicapper, she ran much better than for a while when third here in October.
She was probably worth extra credit too given she still had plenty to do three out, and she shaped as if still in good form when fourth on her latest outing – getting into contention before a blunder put an end to her headway. Gary Hanmer’s yard have been among the winners of late and Cape Fair is certainly an interesting contender.
GENERATION GAP always appealed as the type to make a better chaser than hurdler, but it didn’t quite click for him on his first two outings over fences as he finishing well beaten at Huntingdon and Wincanton.
He was in the process of showing much improved form when falling at Catterick last time however, in contention three out and keeping on when falling heavily at the second last. He may do better yet provided he is none the worse for the fall, particularly with first-time cheekpieces now applied.
Antony Honeyball has a cracking record with bumpers, boasting a 33% strike rate with horses run in National Hunt Flat races this season. He looks to be in with a cracking chance of enhancing that record with KILBEG KING. Kilbeg King got off the mark in Irish points at the second attempt, and he looks very much one to note on his Rules debut.
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