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The vote goes to ZUBA, who confirmed an aptitude for hurdling when fourth at Warwick last month and has since run well back on the Flat. Burgundy Man offered little on completed start for this yard at Ascot, but this is much less demanding. Meanwhile, Cheat is also worth a look making his hurdling debut for an in-form yard.
LAWTOP LEGEND made a reasonable debut for Dr Richard Newland and should be fully tuned up fitness wise on the back of that, so he’s an obvious choice to land this low-grade affair. Corrie Lake and Ding Ding are probably the main dangers.
TOMMIE BEAU produced his best effort to date over hurdles when a rallying fourth in a handicap at Bangor last time so – upped to 3m for the first time – he’s worth chancing to land a weak affair. Recent course and distance winner Bob Backus is another player, while Soarlikeaneagle also warrants respect following his ready success at Fontwell.
DILIGENT has been rejuvenated by his current yard and the way he completed the hat-trick at Fontwell suggests he can defy a hefty rise. Iconic Muddle has taken well to fences and remains with potential so looks the obvious threat.
It’s possible an opening handicap mark in the low-90s could underestimate WHITLOCK, so he’s the suggestion in the hope that wind surgery has had a positive effect. Blood Eagle is 6lbs out of the weights, but it still leaves him on a mark in the 70s and he really ought to be capable of doing something off such a low rating based on his Flat ability.
A 2lbs nudge for PLAYA BLANCA‘s latest close second here is fair enough and he’s selected to resume winning ways. Bard of Brittany ought to find this easier than the Sandown race he contested a couple of weeks ago and gets the nod for the forecast spot.
FIZZLESTIX isn’t the most consistent, but he’s on a good mark nowadays and would be a big player if reproducing his course and distance second in March. Prairie Town, Ballyegan Hero and Plantagenet are all dropping in class and are possible dangers.
HERE HARE HERE offered plenty to work on when third in an above-average bumper for the track at Taunton a month ago and a reproduction of that level may well suffice. The return to an extended-distance bumper will suit Barrowmount and he’s second choice, though First Angel did show a fair bit at Kelso.
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