Tango Echo Charlie has finished runner-up at 2m 6f in both his hurdle runs and has shaped as though this drop back in trip could suit.
He’s respected along with the well-related Le Grand Rocher, who had a daunting task against Goshen on his British debut in November and has plenty of scope for progress for a new yard this season.
However, the vote goes to COLLEGE OAK, who sets the standard on his creditable effort behind a subsequent winner at Wetherby in his final run last year and should appreciate this switch to a stiffer stamina test on his return.
Talented Flat stayer Pianissimo could prove a tough nut to crack if he takes well to hurdling, but SANGHA RIVER has run to a useful level when winning twice this summer and is probably good enough to overcome his double penalty.
Check My Pulse probably won’t be far away, while Le Crunch showed enough on last season’s bumper debut to suggest he can win over jumps at some stage.
Several have possibilities but the suggestion is VICE ET VERTU, who was a creditable front-running second behind a handicap blot at Market Rasen on his recent return from a break and is now back on the same mark as for his brave win at the same track last summer.
Compadre and Barbrook Star are feared most, though Rizzardo could have a big part to play if he can bounce near his best on his first run since lockdown.
Several of these warrant consideration but top of the list is BLACK BUBLE, who didn’t really have the race run to suit when clear second to an all-the-way winner at Bangor last month and can cope with today’s 2lb higher mark.
Second choice is Ballon Onabudget, who bumped into a bang-in-form rival when second after a lay-off at Newton Abbot and could have untapped potential over this longer trip. Dagueneau, Final Choice and Lungarno Palace also make the shortlist.
Richard Newland’s four-year-old Operatic Export will be dangerous in this lower grade if able to build upon last month’s Stratford fourth, but LADY CYLLA is selected to capitalise upon some significant help from the handicapper.
Tony Carroll’s mare ran well for a long way at Bangor last month and has hopefully benefited from that outing. Last-time-out winners Lilypad and Lightening Dance are also respected, while Cotton End is another to consider.
Preference is for dual hurdle winner RED ROYALIST, who has been running really well back on the Flat this summer and is open to more progress on this switch back to hurdling.
Story Of Friends is another who still has potential in this sphere and he’s feared most on his step back up to 2m 4f.
Petit Palais goes into unknown territory at this trip but he’s a big player if his stamina holds out, while Dark Episode was runner-up at Wincanton in his final run last year and has claims if he can pick up where he left off.
Thibault made a solid start to his chase career when runner-up at Southwell and is a key player if his confidence hasn’t been dented by a fall at the same track 13 days ago.
Youracert has claims if he can find some extra spark, while a couple of chasing newcomers to keep an eye on are Catch The Cuban and Absolute Jaffa.
However, the vote goes to ADMIRAL’S SUNSET, who was a clear third behind a well-handicapped rival at Stratford last month and could be a major force if she can repeat that form off the same mark.
Schnabel went close over 3m here on his recent stable debut, but preference is for DIDO (NAP) who stayed on well for second on last month’s handicap chase debut at Newton Abbot. That was the 10-year-old’s first run for over a year and, if judged on some of his expoits in open points, he remains on a good mark.
Cases can also be made for Hidden Glen, Running Wolf and Colby, while it will be interesting to see whether Dollar And A Dream attracts market support again.
If coping with today’s forecast much quicker ground, Go Hard Or Go Home has the potential to progress from his Hereford win in March. However, the suggestion is GO AS YOU PLEASE, who was behind two subsequent winners when a close fourth here on his recent chase debut.
Uno Mas has been in the doldrums for a while and is not yet proven over fences but is now very well handicapped on his best hurdle form, and the refitted cheekpieces make him worthy of very close attention in the betting here. Hahadi and Day Of Roses also have possibilities.
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