This doesn’t look the strongest mares’ handicap and it is SUNRISE RUBY who makes the most appeal. She is yet to get her head in front over hurdles, but has done little wrong, and made an encouraging handicap debut when beaten only by a thriving sort who galloped her rivals into the ground from a low weight.
Sunrise Ruby proved she is on a fair mark there and, with scope for further improvement, she is fancied to come out on top here.
ON TO VICTORY, who is a smart sort on the Flat, was in the process of running well on his hurdling debut before unseating his rider at the last. That was his first start for 15 months, but he showed he retains plenty of ability, likely to have finished second if not losing his rider, close up and keeping on when blundering.
Alan King does well with such types, and there should be more to come from him now, so is fancied to open his account over hurdles.
DEFI SACRE won over fences when trained in France and has proved a revelation switched to the larger obstacles for this yard of late. He showed improved form to win by 14 lengths at Musselburgh earlier this month and, though he had to work harder, he still looked ahead of his mark when following up under a penalty at Newbury nine days later. He is 5 lb higher in the weights now and another bold bid is expected over the same C&D.
SEVARANO was expensive to follow last season, but looks an improved model this time round, winning both of his starts in maiden/novice hurdles at Chepstow and Newbury, respectively. He produced a career best on his first try at this trip on the latter occasion, winning in ready fashion, and an opening mark of 134 could prove lenient.
There should be more to come from COPPERHEAD, who produced a bold round of jumping when scoring at Wincanton on his second run over fences. The five-year-old remains open to improvement in this sphere and is taken to defy a 9 lb rise here. Polydora will be a threat if able to get back on track but, as things stand, bigger threats may be posed by Cobolobo, Forgot To Ask and Moving In Style.
THYME HILL has already bagged a pair of Grade 2 events at around this trip this season and, though he looks ready for three miles, he can take the step up to the highest level in his stride and stretch his unbeaten record over hurdles to three. The Cashel Man responded really well to positive tactics when hosing up in a C&D handicap last month and a repeat of that form should put him firmly in the mix.
TIDAL FLOW has the potential to make a classy chaser and is a confident choice to make a winning transition to handicaps following such an impressive success in a novice at Uttoxeter last time. Kateson also looks the type to improve and Diable de Sivola can get involved if in the same form as last time.
*Prices and entries correct at time of publishing