Away At Dawn won comfortably on last month’s hurdle debut at Bangor but, with the short-odds favourite below par, that form isn’t anything to get too excited about.
MUSTANG ALPHA might have achieved more when third at Huntingdon in November and is preferred here. Wbee is not out of this if able to build upon last month’s Uttoxeter run.
Former Flat-racer Diodorus probably won’t go down without a fight, but 2m 6f on rain-softened ground will take his stamina into unknown territory today and he may find FINISK RIVER too strong.
Donald McCain’s seven-year-old drew a long way clear to win over 2m 1f here recently and, if his Irish point form is a guide, he might be seen to even better effect over today’s trip.
Jimmy Moffatt has won this three times in five years and last year’s winner The Steward could well improve on his recent third here behind Glan Y Gors.
Moffatt has further chances with Altruism and Golden Town, but CONSTANCIO made an eye-catching return in a good race at Southwell and he makes most appeal.
The two last-time-out winners at the foot of the racecard, YCCS Portocervo and Court Royale, could both still be well handicapped. Meanwhile, Demi Sang, Wells De Lune, Tonto’s Spirit and Ardera Cross have all won at this track at least twice.
However, with the early pace likely to be hectic and the ground expected to be slower than good, the best option could be NORTHERN BEAU.
Michael Scudamore’s mare looked very well suited by a strongly run 2m when winning on soft going at Cheltenham in December and is only 3lb higher here. Demi Sang is feared most.
The mare TAKINGITALLIN was second behind Demon D’Aunou here on last month’s chase debut but is taken to turn the tables today, with things having not gone to plan for the winner since.
The main danger could be dual course hurdles winner River Icon, for whom the step back up in trip is a plus.
Elmono ran a big race in defeat over C&D four weeks ago and is respected, but it might pay to take a chance on CAIRNSHILL.
Kenny Johnson’s nine-year-old won a good-quality 3m 1f hurdle here in spring 2019 and is well handicapped on some of last autumn’s chase form.
His recent reappearance run over hurdles was quite encouraging and he won’t mind what the weather does this weekend. Good cases can also be made for Dee Star and Captain Mowbray.
It’s a push calling Carys’ Commodity well treated for his handicap debut, but what is likely to help his cause is the significant rise in distance.
However, in receipt of so much weight, preference is for recent course winner TOP BILLING (NAP), who retains all of his enthusiasm at the age of 11.
The Black Squirrel has to be feared after his recent course win, though he’s 8lb higher and with a much bigger weight this afternoon.
Perhaps THAT’S MY DUBAI can provide the answer if ready for business after her break.
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