Third Wind quickly developed into a useful hurdler last season, winning three of his four starts, notably the 18-runner EBF ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final at Sandown on his final start in March. All of his form stacks up, and he promises to make up into an even better chaser (well-made gelding who has plenty of scope), so he is fancied to make a winning start in this sphere after eight months off, with previous winners Deyrann de Carjac and Erick le Rouge the main dangers.
Twotwothree had a valid excuse on his chasing debut at Sedgefield on his final start last season (burst a blood vessel) and he duly left that form well behind after six months off when sauntering to success at Bangor last month. He won with much more in hand than the nine-length margin suggests on that occasion, leading on the bridle two out, and easing clear thereafter. The handicapper didn’t miss that performance, raising him 12 lb in the weights since, but that was just his second start over fences, and there should be plenty more progress in him.
A typically competitive renewal of the Cork Grand National and The Red Menace seems sure to go well at what should be an each-way price. He looked better than ever with the blinkers back on when winning by 21 lengths at Galway last month, making all and suited by the emphasis on stamina. All of his handicap starts have come over hurdles, and he is now 11 lb higher than when last contesting one, but he seems a much better chaser than a hurdler and he seems sure to make a bold bid over a trip that should suit on run style.