Blacko is brother to a fairly useful hurdler and, after showing plenty in a couple of runs in France, must be of interest on his first outing for Alan King. King’s yard tends to do well in these events, so the new recruit gets the nod to make a winning British debut ahead of Zoffee, who will be a big player if jumping better than he did at Market Rasen earlier this month.
Flic Ou Voyou won twice in bumpers and shaped with promise when twice placed over hurdles this season. He was second in a strong race at Chepstow in October before finishing third behind two subsequent winners at Wincanton last month. He sets the bar high in this contest and, with this longer trip expected to suit, can open his account at the expense of the improving Fuseau.
Elite Garde didn’t have the best of times over hurdles but has looked a different proposition since making the switch to fences. Paul Webber’s charge made a winning start to life in this sphere with a convincing 17-length victory at Huntingdon last month, before making it two from two over the larger obstacles when landing a novice handicap at Leicester a month later. He is up 6 lb for that victory but is open to further improvement and looks well placed to complete the hat-trick.
Marie’s Rock is two from two under Rules after following up her assertive debut victory in a Ffos Las bumper with a taking performance on her first attempt over hurdles at Haydock earlier this month. She showed plenty of admirable traits on her first run in this sphere and has plenty of scope for improvement. There are lots of improving sorts in this field but it is Nicky Henderson’s filly who gets the nod to take this step up in class in her stride and maintain her 100% record.
Kilcrea Bridge has been somewhat below par since opening his Rules account at Exeter last Christmas, but he has slipped back to that winning mark and should be sharper following his reappearance at Ffos Las last month. This is a wide open race, however, and a few of these are in with a shout, including the reliable Lizzie Langton, who is expected to give another good account of herself. Kovera is also worth a mention if returning in good heart following a break.
Dual Irish point winner Winter Getaway made it two wins from two over hurdles when making light work of a penalty to land a novice against her own sex at Warwick last month. Philip Hobbs’s charge looks to have been afforded a very fair opening mark on her handicap debut and, with this step up in trip expected to suit, she is taken to record the hat-trick for her in-form yard.
Twenty Twenty arrives in good form after putting a fair amount of distance between himself and the rest of the field when second at Huntingdon earlier this month, and can count himself unfortunate to have bumped into a handicap blot. A 3 lb rise for that performance could be generous, so he is taken to go one better here with claimer Niall Houlihan taking a handy 8 lb off his back.
- TAUNTON 12:45 – Blacko
- TAUNTON 13:15 – Flic Ou Voyou
- TAUNTON 13:50 – Elite Garde
- TAUNTON 14:25 – Marie’s Rock
- TAUNTON 14:55 – Kilcrea Bridge
- TAUNTON 15:30 – Winter Getaway
- TAUNTON 16:00 – Twenty Twenty