A dual-hurdle winner in 2015/16, Big Chief Benny has come to chasing late, but he showed enough on his first two outings in this sphere to suggest he has more to offer, his debut over fences at Kempton in February a particularly encouraging effort. He looks potentially well handicapped if able to build on those two runs and can make his presence felt on his return to action.
Stormy Ireland proved herself better than ever over hurdles last term, winning three times, twice at graded level, and she made an encouraging start to life over fences when runner-up at Newton Abbot last month. That was her first outing for Paul Nicholls, and it appeals as form worth viewing positively, the front three all potentially smart chasers in the making. She should have no problems winning races in this sphere and this looks a good opportunity for her to open his account over fences.
Boldmere proved a different proposition once stepped into handicap company last season, winning at Leicester and Doncaster in December, and he was on his way to making a successful start in graded company when coming down at the last at Wetherby in February, likely to have won by a couple of lengths had he stayed up. He looked in need of the run after eight months off at Chepstow recently, but he did shape well for most of the way, and he looks set to flourish this season.
Pyramid Place showed nothing more than fair form on the Flat for John Gosden, remaining a maiden after four runs, but he showed a good aptitude for hurdling when runner-up at Lingfield last month, taking a while to warm to the task but keeping on well once the penny dropped, just failing. This looks a really good opportunity for Milton Harris’s new recruit to go one better.
Bred to be smart, Easy As That duly looked something out of the ordinary on both his starts in bumpers last season, opening his account at the first attempt at Ffos Las, before creating an even bigger impression at Musselburgh subsequently, posting one of the highest figures seen in the division last season. He is brimming with potential and makes plenty of appeal on his hurdle debut.
Mint Condition showed improved form to get off the mark on his handicap debut over this course and distance two weeks ago, travelling through the race well before drawing clear on the flat. That appeals as good form for the grade, and an 8 lb rise may not be enough to stop him following up.
It took Legends Ryde a couple of goes to put it all together over hurdles last season, but she showed improved form to open her account at the third attempt at Ffos Las in March, seeing the race out well despite her rider dropping his whip after the last. She found the step up to Grade 2 company a little too much on her reappearance at Chepstow last month, but this is a much simpler task, and she gets the vote to take advantage of the return to calmer waters.
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