This can go to COURTANDBOULD, who has found stacks of improvement since switched to hurdling, with his two emphatic front-running wins at this track, and sets the standard under a double penalty here in his bid to make it 3-3 in this sphere. The danger is fairly useful triple Flat winner Grey Spirit, who took a good step forward on his second hurdle run when a staying-on third behind the favourite at Bangor 21 days ago.
Most of these come with big risks attached but GOING MOBILE looks solid after his good placed efforts in his first two runs over fences, and he’s open to further progress on the step back up to this trip. The main danger could be Jonjo O’Neill’s Global Anchor, who has had wind surgery and is on a workable mark if he takes to this new discipline on his return from another break.
Roar is respected after a good effort in defeat at Bangor three weeks ago but LLEYTON (nap) made good headway from a poor position to finish a close sixth in a competitive race at Southwell recently and can come good for Justin Landy at the third attempt. Chantecler finished behind Roar at Bangor but has scope to build on that performance on this second run for Nicky Henderson. Court In Matera is next on the list.
Monsieur D’Arque impressed when winning by 8l at Market Rasen last month and is not opposed lightly but it’s very difficult to be swayed from ASHUTOR, who is ahead of the handicapper after running very well in defeat on his chasing debut 26 days ago. C&D winners Fanzio and Atlantic Storm add further depth to what looks a warm race.
This looks a bit trappy but the vote goes to the lightly raced 6yo JASMIN DES BORDES, who stayed on well for third on his step up to 3m2f at Newton Abbot and is well treated if he can build on that. Henry’s Joy turned things around with a narrow defeat over 2m6f at Cartmel and is a big danger if he can repeat that that form on this step back up in trip. The other one on the shortlist is North Star Oscar, who won three times last year and could kick on again this season after wind surgery.
Fibonacci ran to a fairly useful level when winning on the Flat last month and looks very interesting in this low-grade handicap hurdle but NO REGRETS can overcome the penalty he shoulders for last week’s easy win at Southwell. Galardo made a promising stable debut after a long absence a fortnight ago and may also feature.
We haven’t seen KARAMOKO since he was placed at Ayr in January 2019 but the handicapper has given him some help in the meantime and the booking of Brian Hughes drops a strong hint the gelding will be fit enough to do himself justice. Jetstream has been placed in two handicaps this season and is second choice. Handicap debutants Say Nothing and Shareef Star are others to consider.
On his first run since a wind op, DANCING IN THE SKY made a very good start to his chasing career at Bangor last month. He’s back up in trip today and is taken to win again. Mon Palois was just a respectable third at Southwell on his seasonal reappearance but remains unexposed as a chaser and might be capable of better in first-time cheekpieces. It’s For Alan gave a pretty good account of himself when behind Romanor over C&D six weeks ago and is next on the list.
Point bumper winner Bravo Buddy showed enough to suggest he can win a rules bumper when third at Newton Abbot a fortnight ago but KEYBOARD JOAN chased home a subsequent hurdle winner at Uttoxeter last month and has since gone very close over C&D. She gets the nod.