Gaot won a French bumper by five lengths earlier this year and has since been bought by JP McManus and moved to Harry Fry’s yard. She is of obvious interest on her debut over hurdles for powerful connections and is preferred to Goobinator, who showed useful form on the Flat and is also with a leading trainer.
Eceparti, a winning chaser in France, showed only fair form over hurdles for Venetia Williams last season but produced an improved performance to win over fences on his return at Chepstow, taking his record in that sphere to 2-2. He didn’t pick up a penalty for that success in a stronger race than this, and if he turns up in the same form he shouldn’t have much trouble following up under Hugh Nugent.
Sir Valentine was a useful performer on the Flat for Alan King and, after being off the track for almost two and a half years, was in the process of running well on his first start for Nigel Twiston-Davies but fell at the last. He soon made amends, winning easily at Newbury next time, showing that the engine is still very much there, and he is the one to beat if able to repeat that performance.
Ecu De La Noverie was successful over hurdles on his first outing for Philip Hobbs this time last year and has since posted a number of creditable efforts in defeat over fences. He has run well on both starts this season, starting off with a pleasing second over course and distance last month before finishing third at Kempton, and he looks likely to go close again.
Winning pointer Generation Gap caught the eye on his reappearance over two miles at Chepstow, staying on well into third, and he looks open to improvement over this longer trip. He will have the assistance of superb claimer Jonjo O’Neill jnr on his handicap debut and is expected to take a big step forward.
Headscarf Lil appeared to be her yard’s third-string on debut at Kelso in May but showed plenty of ability to finish runner-up and she sets the standard in this bumper. Meep Meep Mag got off the mark with ease in a point at the second attempt and is another to consider after a promising third on Rules debut.
13:50 Sir Valentine
14:20 Ecu De La Noverie
14:55 Generation Gap
15:30 Headscarf Lil
* All odds correct at time of posting.