Furkash and Here Comes McCoy come into this after winning last time over hurdles but they both carry penalties as a result and it will take a good performance from either of those two to concede weight and beat Sizeable Sam.
Sizeable Sam was just touched off in a bumper here last November and then got off the mark at Warwick when beating Cadzand, who is now rated 129 over hurdles. Sizeable Sam mad his hurdles debut here last month and travelled well but was just passed at the last hurdle but did shape like he would improve for the run. He can build on that run and get off the mark on his second start over hurdles.
First Man has been in great form recently winning twice over hurdles since August and was just touched off by Robin Gold also. Robin Gold has won twice since to give that form a really solid look. The one disappointing effort in there was a run over fences at Hexham and First Man has disappointed on all starts over fences to date. He is well treated over fences compared to hurdles (to the tune of 16lbs) but he is worth opposing and the one I like is Clondaw Rigger.
Firstly, he has the assistance of Jack Tudor who is arguably the best jockey in this field restricted to conditional jockeys. Secondly, in two starts at Wincanton, he has finished second off a mark of 94 and own of a mark of 102. He now finds himself off a mark of just 100 and was a good second at Ffos Las in October. If the return to Wincanton does the trick, he might be able to give First Man a good run for his money.
Cooper’s Cross won his point to point only in September and found two miles too sharp on his bumper debut. He outran his odds when a very close 3rd on his hurdles debut here last month, only being headed late on. He was a 50/1 shot that day and he won’t be anywhere near that price now but I don’t think there was any reason to think that run was a fluke.
The second from that Catterick run had a rating of 125 and while Cooper’s Cross might have to improve a few pounds to beat last time out winner, African Dance.
That is entirely possible.
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