Shetland Bus surpassed his Irish form on just his second start for Justin Landy when successful in a conditionals handicap at Musselburgh recently, battling on well to land the odds with seemingly more in hand than the official winning margin would suggest.
The way he finished his race suggests the step back up in trip here can be viewed as positive, and, with no penalty to carry for that recent victory, it will be disappointing if he isn’t thereabouts in his follow-up bid.
Xian Express built on an encouraging debut when finding only a similarly improved sort (who has won again since) too good at Roscommon in August, before taking another step forward to finish a close third at the Curragh six weeks later.
He again ran creditably on his most recent start – and final outing for Paddy Twomey – when runner-up at Navan in October and sets a high standard in this race. The two-year-old joined Michael Appleby’s yard earlier this month and is a confident choice to make a winning start for a shrewd new stable.
Roll Again was a modest performer in bumpers before taking his form up a level to win a Downpatrick maiden on his hurdling debut. He showed glimpses of ability in subsequent races before making the switch to Venetia Williams’s yard last term.
He offered something to work with on his stable debut when fourth on his first attempt over fences and should still have more to offer in this sphere. Williams’ charge looks likely to build on his latest appearance, and, with his yard in top form at the minute, he might be worth siding with to regain the winning thread at an inviting price.