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A tricky handicap in which several of the likelier candidates have something to prove. Wbee is solid and should give his running, while Tactical Manoeuvre won decisively last time but in a weaker race.
Fontley House is capable granted a better round of jumping, but it could be worth chancing top-weight and winning pointer DRUMLEE WATAR. He’s obviously had his share of problems, but he can show the benefit of his reappearance and make a winning handicap debut.
In the absence of anything with compelling claims, a chance is taken on PACKETTOTHERAFTERS in the hope the first-time blinkers help him bounce back to form. Gary Hanmer’s 12-year-old has become well handicapped and will be suited by today’s trip/ground.
The oldest runner Midnight Mustang was second in this race two years and has won this year. There could still be a bit more to come from Furius De Ciergues, but his win two starts ago was gained on heavy ground and he seems rather one-paced.
There’s little between this pair on either BHA ratings or RPRs and both were turned over at short odds last time. Jeremy Pass could benefit from going left-handed again, but THE BULL MCCABE looked good over course and distance in October and he may be able to gain a second hurdle win.
Dubai Outlaw still has potential over fences and is a contender, while Postman and Getawaytonewbay are others with chase form that warrant a second look. The two most interesting contenders, and by some way, are chase debutants No No Maestro and JONY MAX.
Connections of the selection have wasted no time in getting him into handicap chases and his opening mark could greatly underestimate him given his Irish point win.
Prince Llywelyn hasn’t lived up to his bumper form over obstacles, however he ran creditably last time (behind one who has since followed up) and has to be respected. Starjac could prove a different proposition with his reappearance behind him, but ROB THE GETAWAY (NAP) has been knocking at the door in handicap chases and he’s still low mileage under rules.
Sid Hoodie has trip and ground in her favour and should make a bold on her reappearance. There was more encouragement from FS LOLA at Newton Abbot 15 days ago though, and she might be the answer in this less competitive contest. Handicap debutante Persuer and Malina Ocarina both have a bit to prove, albeit the latter can at least boast recent winning form.
Only three should count. CAPTAIN BUCK’S should have what it takes to defy a penalty but Zamparelli and I’m Wiser Now could make it very interesting.
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