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This is a useful little juvenile hurdle but it looks to concern Goodbye Stranger and Sage Advice. Cabot Cliffs won his hurdles debut at Uttoxeter but has been found out at Listed and Grade 2 level since. This is a drop in grade but he is more of a handicapping prospect. Balzac is an interesting newcomer off the Flat on first start of Evan Williams. He won his maiden at Newbury on his second start but as promising as that performance was, he was let go for 30,000 Guineas to Stuart Williams.
He failed to go into the stalls on both starts for that yard and now tried his hand at hurdling. He has the raw ability but he definitely has some temperament issues. Goodbye Someone was quite weak in the market on hurdles debut at Newbury but did get the job done, albeit in workman-like fashion.
The second, Kentucky Hardboot, was beaten much further on his next start by Sage Advice, so Goodbye Someone needs to improve plenty if he is to overcome Sage Advice. Sage Advice was a maiden winner on the Flat for Joseph Murphy and was rated 79 but he was a revelation on his hurdles debut at Kempton where he cruised through the race and won with the minimum of fuss. He has the makings of a nice handicap hurdler and can make it two out of two over hurdles.
Happy Diva won this race two years ago but she might have a tough task on her hands trying to overcome Annie Mc now. Annie Mc was a wide-margin winner of a mares listed chase at Doncaster last time, which brought her winning run in mares-only races to four. Her defeats in the interim were in the JLT, The Old Roan Chase and in the Caspian Caviar, which highlights how she isn’t top class but she is very effective in this grade against her won sex. Zambella is a creditable contender but I suspect she will put the pace to the race and she may well set it up for Annie Mc.
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The World’s End is an intriguing addition to the hunter chase ranks, as it is only a little over a year ago that he won a Grade 1 over hurdles. He never really hit the heights over fences but only had the five starts in that discipline, but is worth taking on. Marcle Ridge was an excellent sixth in last year’s renewal of the Foxhunters Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, jumping well out in front and only weakening up the hill. He was a 100/1 shot that day, so definitely outran his odds. The testing ground is a bit of a concern but he did finish second to top-class hunter Caid Du Berlais in a point last January on soft ground. Marcle Ridge is likely to give it a good go from the front and if he handles the ground, he can put plenty of these under pressure.
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