On The Road had a nice spin over hurdles on his return at Uttoxeter last month, and should be much more at home over fences now. Jockey Isabel Williams had a good winner at Exeter on Tuesday when unable to utilise her claim, and the extra 6 lbs she can take off the gelding’s back at the Welsh track on Wednesday only enhances his chances.
He won off a mark as high as 123 in 2017, but the nine-year-old finds himself back down to a rating of 111 and drops into a class 4 handicap for the first time in a while here. The forecast soft ground will also be in his favour.
Trying to second guess JP McManus runners can be a thankless task at times, but Oathkeeper ran an interesting race back over hurdles last time at Exeter.
He appeared to have lost his confidence when running over fences and it looked like conditional jockey Edward Austin was just trying to restore his faith in the game as he finished in fifth, with plenty of running left.
With that run under his belt and a drop down the ratings by a further 2lbs – we may see a much improved performance at Chepstow on Wednesday.
There’s not a huge amount of form to go on in the 2m 3f maiden hurdle, but it is probably fair to say that Harry Whittington’s Stick With Bill bumped into a good one in King Roland, when last seen in a Ffos Las bumper, eight months ago.
That easily looks to set the standard in this contest and the five-year-old gelding can get off the mark over hurdles at the first time of asking in the penultimate race on the card.