Pour Me A Drink was a fairly useful performer on the Flat for Clive Cox, reaching an official rating of 83 at his peak, and this looks a good spot for him if managing to reproduce that level of form over hurdles. His new trainer Keith Dalgleish is certainly well capable of readying one for a switch to obstacles, and the seven rivals opposing him here look a relatively limited bunch, so it will be disappointing if he can’t get his new career off to a winning start.
Raddle And Hum was no match for the winner when making her handicap debut at Wetherby on Boxing Day, but she still produced a career-best effort in finishing a clear second, keeping on well to take that position from one who had won his previous start in impressive fashion. Micky Hammond’s charge remains capable of better, especially now going up further in trip, and a 3 lb rise here may not be enough to prevent her from opening her account at the expense of Keep The River and Massini’s Dream.
Geordielandgangsta switches to fences here after a much-improved effort over the smaller obstacles at Newcastle, when digging deep in testing conditions to snatch a place close home. Still relatively lightly raced in the context of this race, he certainly showed enough to suggest that he is on a fair mark, and a clean round of jumping here is fancied to see him home in front on chasing debut, with so many of his rivals arriving with questions to answer at present.
Malystic showed the benefit of initial experience in this sphere (which came in a race that’s working out well) with a decisive success at Musselburgh last month, proving far more professional than his rivals as he forged clear in the closing stages to win by 17 lengths. Still open to more improvement, he should prove well capable of defying a penalty in a race of this nature, for all that Pileon looked promising in his own right when fourth on debut at Cheltenham.
Chase The Wind was a determined winner of his penultimate outing at Huntingdon, before running at least as well in defeat when second from 6 lb higher at Doncaster last time. He found only another thriving sort too strong that day after a stirring battle on the run-in, and the distance the pair put between themselves and the rest suggests that Chase The Wind remains on a workable mark here, even with another 2 lb taken into account. Little Bruce was second in this race 12 months ago and can play a hand in the finish once again, along with the well-handicapped Manwell.
Xpo Universel could be the way to go here in a race where most of them arrive out of sorts. Admittedly, his recent form figures don’t inspire much confidence either, but this is a weaker race than those he has contested the last twice, and, with his yard in much better form now, he is worth the chance to take advantage of his much-reduced mark. Monfass and Nefyn Point are others with claims if on a going day.
Enfin Phil was well backed and duly returned to form when second on his most recent outing at Sedgefield, doing his best work at the finish to lose out by just half a length. The six-year-old may even have won if getting a stronger gallop to aim at, but that still represented a step back in the right direction on just his second start after a wind operation, one that makes him of definite interest in the finale from only 2 lb higher. Handicap debutant Captain Woodie and Groveman, who recorded his sole previous win over hurdles at this venue, complete the shortlist.
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— Timeform (@Timeform) January 7, 2020
- 12:25 – POUR ME A DRINK
- 13:00 – RADDLE AND HUM
- 13:35 – GEORDIELANDGANGSTA
- 14:05 – MALYSTIC
- 14:40 – CHASE THE WIND
- 15:10 – XPO UNIVERSEL
- 15:45 – ENFIN PHIL