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Three of these have already won over hurdles, but Balleticon and Here Comes McCoy were disappointing last time. FRANIGANE is the choice having been an encouraging second on his hurdle debut, so stands out as the most solid option.
None of these are particularly reliable, but ROLLERRULER comes here on the back of a decent effort and gets the vote. Relkadam and Lickpenny Larry are the main dangers in that order.
The lightly raced seven-year-old DUBAI DAYS (NAP) beat a big field with something to spare at Newcastle on his latest hurdle start, and he’s unexposed under hold-up tactics. He’s taken to defy a 9lb rise with Flamboyant Joyaux, who was a good second over fences last time, feared most. Recent Catterick winner Ex S’Elance is a player if again on a going day.
The thriving eight-year-old CYBALKO made it four wins from his last six starts with an easy triumph at Catterick last Tuesday and is taken to continue his winning spree under a 7lbs penalty. 3m on heavy ground may have been too much for Mortens Leam last time he is feared most, having edged back down the weights. Eceparti and Caboy are others to consider.
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The Venetia Williams-trained FONTAINE COLLONGES rallied to win a 1m 7f novice hurdle at Leicester last month and has plenty of potential off her handicap debut mark now up in distance. The lightly raced five-year-old Sexy Lot is progressing nicely and could be the chief danger, ahead of the still-improving 12-year-old Baby Ticker.
If ROAD TO ROME is near his best after a lengthy break, then he should be too good for these rivals. Duhallow Tornado has fitness on his side and could benefit from new blinkers so he is second choice, ahead of Teeton Surprise, who will find this easier than the Wincanton heat he contested last time.
Milans Edge is an interesting newcomer and Jen’s Georgie should improve on her second outing, but HAUTE ESTIME had the misfortune to bump into the very exciting Eileendover on her debut and there is nothing with that rival’s class in opposition here.
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