Youracert and Thibault both look likely candidates to do well over fences but Dan Skelton’s 6yo FERROBIN will appreciate today’s return to good ground and has become very well handicapped for today’s chasing debut. He could prove very hard to catch if he jumps well.
Richard Newland’s 7yo HIDDEN GLEN was pulled up in both his previous chases but returned to form with a good effort in defeat over hurdles on his recent stable debut, and his new trainer evidently feels he’s worth another go over fences. He’s gets the nod ahead of Scartare, who is still a maiden after 29 starts but runs this track well and is pretty consistent. Riddlestown is a teenager now but he’s a seven-time course winner and may also feature.
A few of these have become well handicapped but it’s difficult to predict which of those (if any) will be in the right mood today. Perhaps the answer will be NEW QUAY, who bettered his disappointing chase debut when a creditable fourth at Market Rasen on Boxing Day and now tackles 3m for the first time under rules. Dual C&D winner Mr Mafia is second choice, ahead of Station Master.
Hahadi is well handicapped if revitalised by the switch to a new stable, while dual Irish point winner Coole Lion is very unexposed under rules. However, NET LOVE posted a much-improved performance when third in a Warwick novice hurdle in September and looks an interesting recruit to chasing.
Harry Whittington’s 6yo MEDALLA DE ORO ran very well from the front when second over C&D a fortnight ago and has a good opportunity to add to his Fakenham win in March. Doukarov was placed in a handicap on his latest hurdle start in France and is a potential danger, while Perfect Grace was in good form on the Flat when last seen six months ago.
This looks less competitive than the 2m4f handicap in which Rhythm Is A Dancer was placed here a fortnight ago but Paul Nicholls’ 7yo is not one to rely upon too heavily and is opposed with JACKS LAST HOPE (nap), who won twice last season and will be very well suited by today’s conditions.
Paul Nicholls’ mare Ellarna is a potential danger if her breathing issues are now resolved but this looks a good opportunity for MAKETY, who reached the frame in both her handicaps last season and is now back in a novice event. Golden Emblem makes her hurdle debut after a long absence but looked promising in a bumper last year.
Raving Bonkers has slipped to a tempting mark and today’s drop back in trip ought to suit but he doesn’t tend to much at the business end and preference is for GLENDUN, who finished second over C&D in September and reverts to hurdling after a good recent effort on the Flat. Emily Webb is next on the list.
Several of these have possibilities but perhaps the most interesting runner is CYBALKO, who ran quite well in a chase on this third start for Sam England and now reverts to hurdling on an 11lb lower mark. Unexposed filly It Can Be Done can better her respectable handicap debut if better suited by today’s faster ground, while the switch to a sound surface may also aid Sixties Star, Hurricane Hero, Twpsyn and Finvarra.
Hypnos, Saintbury Lady and Memphis Bell are three handicap newcomers with potential and market support for those would need to be taken very seriously. However, the tentative selection is JETSTREAM, who was placed off today’s mark in September and posted an encouraging recent effort on the Flat. Lilypad has been in good form on the Flat lately, while Galardo will be dangerous if able to replicate the best of his Irish form after his long absence.
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