Smart Lass shaped nicely on her first two starts for this yard and improved to get off the mark here in September. She progressed again to follow up in emphatic fashion, and was then unlucky to bump into an above-average and experienced rival when finishing runner-up on her hurdling debut over this course and distance in November. That was an encouraging first effort in this sphere and, still seemingly on the up, she is expected to prove too good.
Kajaki won his first two starts over hurdles in the autumn of 2018 for Kevin Ryan but subsequently proved something of a let-down. However, he showed improved form on his first outing for Nicky Richards at Doncaster last month when beaten only by a notably well-treated rival, and he is likely to go close if building upon that promising performance. Kajaki had little chance of beating the winner at Doncaster, who was obviously well-in from the same mark as when bolting up previously, but he put enough distance between himself and the rest of the field to suggest he may be up to defying this 6 lb higher mark.
Foresee resumed winning ways in good style when scoring by seven lengths in a Wolverhampton apprentice handicap last week and, having escaped a penalty for what was his third win in his last four runs, he looks tough to beat here. However, the market is likely to reflect that, and an each-way bet on Imperial Focus could be a better option. Simon Waugh’s charge has yet to get off the mark in this sphere but ran better than for a while at Newcastle last time, finishing third in a fairly-run handicap which looks solid form for the level. That race has already produced a subsequent winner and Imperial Focus is expected to launch a bold bid.