Most of these have quite a lot to prove, but CHOSEN FLAME came good over hurdles with an emphatic win as favourite in a C&D handicap 19 days ago and he’s a major player again off 6lb higher here.
Lostock Hall and Let’s Sway are feared most, though Fern Owl had a productive time under both codes last summer and needs watching in the market on his comeback for a new yard.
Preference is for useful bumper performer MRS HYDE, who made a bright start over hurdles for her new yard when landing a gamble at Southwell last month and has leading claims under a penalty for that dominant display.
Another bumper winner Stoner’s Choice could be the main threat on his hurdling debut, though Winfola was close up when falling at the last on her only previous hurdle run and she’s respected on her switch back to this sphere.
With it a novice event the handicapper was unable to raise SCARDURA for splitting higher-rated opposition on his chase debut and if running to that level again he’ll take some beating off this mark.
Global Tour did well to make a successful chase debut at Bangor and he’s been hard to knock since joining Fergal O’Brien.
Six-year-old IMPERIAL ELYSIAN has another big rise in mark to deal with after his win at Southwell on his return last month, but he hit another clear personal best in that race and this major improver may well be able to strike again to make it four wins in a row.
Native Fighter looked a bit stretched at 2m 6f last time, but he still ran well to finish placed and could be the main danger on his drop back in trip.
The other one on the shortlist is Dear Sire, who was only beaten around 2 lengths under a big weight in his bid for a double at Uttoxeter 22 days ago.
Nicky Richards’ low-mileage 10-year-old IMADA (NAP) was evidently very well suited by the step up to 3m when a dominant winner at Bangor last month and he can cope with a 14lb hike up the weights if in similar form here.
As You Like won his latest start and is also unexposed over this sort of trip.
More Buck’s has become well handicapped and is next on the list, while it won’t be a massive surprise if C&D winners Soupy Soups and Red Giant suddenly bounce back to form.
Pammi looked in excellent nick when scoring over C&D 19 days ago, but she’ll probably need an even better performance to defy her recent hike up the weights and an interesting alternative is FRAU GEORGIA. She may not have handled heavy ground when a well-held sixth on her handicap debut and is taken to deliver on promise shown under less testing conditions beforehand.
At First Glance is another unexposed one to consider, while Lady London warrants close attention in the betting on her second run for David Jeffreys.
Recent C&D second Wise Coco holds a couple of these rivals on that running and should go well, but preference is for VINO’S CHOICE, who has been knocking on the door on his last two starts and can win this on his switch back to hurdling.
Princess T, Lady Kyria, Calliope and Ride The Monkey are others worth considering.
This is very open and BEAUTIFUL BEN is held by some of these on their recent clash over C&D, but he ran well to a point on ground too soft and drying conditions would bring him right into the equation.
Our Lucas was going well when falling four out in that same race and he could be the danger, with Graystown one of several others with good reason to feel hopeful.
Keith Dalgleish’s new recruit BIG JIM DWYER looked promising when reaching the frame on both Irish starts this summer and can enhance his trainer’s excellent bumper strike-rate.
Against All Odds was ahead of Tara Kay when placed here this month and is second choice.
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