This looks a competitive handicap, but GEORDIE B caught the eye on his seasonal return at Newbury in November and looks the type that has much more to offer. He was unsuited by the steady gallop in which that race was run at, and also may have found the ground quick enough. All may have not been right after the race, too, given that we haven’t seen him since, but he looks leniently treated from a mark of 139, and he should be very competitive here.
JERRYSBACK was progressive as a novice last season and came on a bundle for his seasonal reappearance when finishing third in a similar event to this at Ascot last time. He was again well supported on that occasion, suggesting connections feel he is on a fair mark, and that form is working out well. The significant drop back in trip to two miles is a slight concern, but he is a strong traveller and this galloping track and long straight will help, and he is chanced to go well after a short break.
CILL ANNA is progressing well over hurdles, showing improved form to win her last two starts in mares’ novices, and she is well worth her place at this level. She is developing a really positive profile, and it will be disappointing if she doesn’t complete a hat-trick in what doesn’t look the strongest race for the grade.
BOLDMERE has developed into a much better chaser than hurdler, leaving his debut in this sphere well behind when easily winning his next two starts, and he looked set to win the Grade 2 Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby last time, in control when falling at the last. He is now a stone higher in the weights than when winning his last handicap, but he looks most progressive in this sphere, and ought to make a very bold bid granted he is none the worse for that fall.
This doesn’t look a strong novice hurdle for the track and it is hard to get away from the claims of FIRAK, who was well supported but found one too good at Warwick earlier this month. He travelled better than most on that occasion, running on in the finish but never getting to the winner. That was his first run for eight weeks, so he’s entitled to sharpen up for that, and is taken to deservedly open his account.
STONIFIC is fairly useful on the Flat and has showed a similar level of form over hurdles, catching the eye when third in a handicap at Bangor last time. Admittedly, it was another jumping error that cost him, likely to have finished second at worst had he not made a mess of the last, and he is worth another chance in an open race.
NELLS SON is related to a bumper winner and likely to be well tuned up for this first outing given his connections, so he’s taken to get the better of Kearney Hill, who must shoulder a penalty for his Musselburgh success last time. Point winner Whitechurch is likely to have a say, too, particularly if it becomes a real stamina test.
*All odds correct at time of publication