Big Bad Bear was a useful bumper winner last season and he has made a promising start over hurdles this time around, building on the promise of his debut when winning a six-runner introductory event at Wetherby last time. He didn’t need to improve to get off the mark in this sphere, but it was encouraging however that he was able to run to a similar level faced with a steady gallop down in trip. That form is working out well with the runner-up winning at Hexham earlier in the week and Big Bad Bear is expected to defy a penalty here before moving up in grade.
13:20 – Carlisle: Cloudy Glen
Cloudy Glen was progressive over hurdles last season, winning three of his four starts, and made a highly encouraging debut over fences after eight months off when finishing fourth at Exeter last month. He went comfortably like the best horse at the weights, taking to his new discipline as well as could have been expected, but the gallop he set (also kicked on a long way out) ultimately took its toll on his first start at three miles. The drop back in trip now looks a good move and he is fully expected to prove this mark all wrong.
12:30 – Navan: Drumacoo
This looks a cracking handicap hurdle and Drumacoo, who was a smart novice chaser in his pomp, makes each-way appeal from his hurdles mark. He turned in his best effort for quite some time when runner-up at Fairyhouse last time, and would have given the winner plenty to think about had he not made a mistake at the last (rider lost his irons). The handicapper has raised him 2 lb in the weights, but on his best form he appeals as being well handicapped, and Rachael Blackmore now takes over from a 7 lb claimer.
11:50 Carlisle: Big Bad Bear – 4/6
13:20 Carlisle: Cloudy Glen – 6/5
12:30 Navan: Drumacoo – 6/1
* All odds correct at time of posting.