King Golan has slipped to an attractive chase mark and will be dangerous if a recent spin over hurdles has done him good.
However, it’s hard to get away from progressive six-year-old ROBYNDZONE (NAP), who was nicely in command in the closing stages at Bangor last month and can overcome a 10lb rise here. Pride Of Parish and Thomas Shelby should also feature.
Minella Warrior seemed to take pretty well to chasing when third at Cheltenham in October and will be hard to beat if in similar form here, but he never really warmed to the task when last of four at Uttoxeter last month and now has cheekpieces fitted.
Preference is for four-time hurdle winner THE BUTCHER SAID, who was in very good form on his latest appearance in March and now makes his chasing debut.
Azzuri set a pretty strong pace before finishing second to Isaac Wonder here last month and, with habitual front-runners Adrrastos and Theflyingportrait in this line-up, we can expect the tempo to be high again today.
That won’t faze Croco Bay but the main beneficiary could be TIDAL WATCH, who was behind Azzuri/Isaac Wonder when fourth over C&D two starts ago.
However, he is better off at the weights with both now, and arguably bettered that performance when third at Newton Abbot last time.
Donnie Azoff and Le Boulevardier crossed the line together when placed here last month and are very difficult to split, as both showed their inexperience and should improve.
One who might give them something to think about is WINTON, from a Flat yard that has done really well in these races and the booking of Brian Hughes bodes well.
Four-time French Flat winner Coulonces ought to be capable of much better than she showed on last month’s stable/hurdle debut, while Gerboise Borget ran well enough in a bumper five weeks ago to suggest she has a future over jumps.
However, fair Flat-racer PERFECT GRACE took very well to hurdling when a 6-length C&D winner last month and gets the nod.
It may well pay to give another chance to PERFECT CITY, who was a disappointing favourite at Stratford on his latest outing but came good over hurdles at Uttoxeter two starts ago and could still have significant untapped potential in this sphere.
Calvinist ran well after a lay-off last month and is second choice, but Lleyton finished second on his stable debut three weeks ago and could easily have more to offer for his new trainer.
Elsewhere Northern Bound can benefit from today’s drop back in trip, while Raashdy is a more speculative option to consider.
Liffeydale Dreamer won an uncompetitive race at Cartmel very comfortably last month, but the best hurdle form belongs to COOL DESTINATION.
Fergal O’Brien’s seven-year-old was below his best when last seen in October, but his trainer usually has his runners primed to go well after a lay-off.
Fairly useful chaser Fort Gabriel is also a likely contender on this first hurdle run since 2015, while dual French chase winner Ecossais looks interesting on his British debut.
If LOCAL AFFAIR can strip fitter for her run here three weeks ago and improve for this stiffer stamina test, she might be the answer.
Bartholomew J may also benefit from today’s extra yardage and, as a recent winner, he has far less to prove than most of these.
Mystic Court steadied his ship last time and stable form further heightens interest, while top weight Londonia and Newton Abbot winner Etat Major Aulmes are players.
However, if NO REGRETS can stay closer to the leaders than at Perth last time where he finished strongly, he could be the answer off what is potentially a very good mark.
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