Masters Legacy confirmed the promise of his debut when an authoritative winner of a novice hurdle at this course last month. Philip Hobbs’s charge appeals as the type to go on improving, especially now stepped up in trip, so he gets the vote to make it back-to-back wins for his in-form yard.
Buzz showed some useful middle-distance Flat form for Hughie Morrison before transferring to Nicky Henderson’s yard, and could prove too classy for these on his hurdles debut. Chez Hans is surely capable of better than he showed over course and distance last time and could be the main danger.
Escapability improved on the form he showed on his hurdles debut when third in a novice over course and distance last month, and he is likely to progress further for Alan King. Alexander Thorne, who claims a handy 7lb, was aboard last time and takes the ride again. Wagner was an easy winner of a point last April and is feared most on his debut under Rules.
Snapdragon Fire was a narrowly-beaten runner-up on his chase debut at Southwell in September and he showed improved form when third at Kempton in October.
He didn’t quite get home over 2m2f at Kempton and he will be well suited by the drop back in trip at this speed-favouring course. He could be the answer in this trappy heat. Coole Well was only beaten by a smart prospect at Haydock last month and rates the main danger.
Earth Moor got off the mark at the fourth time of asking in bumpers and didn’t need to show his all when comfortably justifying odds-on favouritism on his hurdles debut 14 months ago.
Philip Hobbs is well capable of readying a horse following an absence and, with further improvement anticipated, Earth Moor makes plenty of appeal now entering handicaps on a fair-looking mark.
Captain Cattistock was a useful performer over hurdles and improved again for the switch to chasing last season, winning two of his four starts.
He arrives here on the back of a respectable effort at Chepstow last month and a repeat of that performance should be enough to see him make a winning start in hunter chases.
Pola Chance showed plenty of promise when third in a Stratford juvenile hurdle in July and remains fairly treated on that form. Nigel Hawke’s filly failed to stay two and a half miles at Worcester when last seen in October, but has had a wind operation since then and a bold showing would come as no surprise.
Hawke has enjoyed some success with juveniles in handicaps this season and Pola Chance is worth siding with.
*Prices correct a time of publishing