Although he improved from his hurdling debut run at Market Rasen, Decoration Of War still has a lot to find with PISGAH PIKE so Jamie Snowden’s runner is the logical selection.
A danger to both may be Nikgarde, who has shown ability in bumpers and may do even better now he goes hurdling. He can chase the selection home.
With four of the seven runners making their chasing debut, there is plenty of guesswork involved.
Slainte Mhor and Victory Echo may fare best of those without experience in this discipline but the percentage call is SOMETHINBOUTANGELA, whose debut win over fences was not without incident.
She has a 7lb higher mark to cope with here but has less questions to answer than the others. Empire De Maulde – who may be next best – and Darry Desbois have possibilities in a trappy race.
After some decent efforts on the Flat, War Brigade is interesting back over hurdles off a fair mark and with blinkers fitted for the first time.
Lough Derg Jewel can go well fresh and is also considered but the vote goes to MELODY OF SCOTLAND (nap), who is particularly effective here and has the visor back on after her recent reappearance run at Uttoxeter. Aurora Thunder and Hasankey also enter calculations.
Having won off this mark over C&D last year, FOR JIM gets a narrow vote after showing more at Uttoxeter last time.
A host of potential dangers are headed by Nortonthorpelegend, Dee Star and Dutch Canyon. Almost Gold could also go well if first-time cheekpieces do the trick.
Not may of these leap off the page but at least FOR THREE knows his way around here and is on the same mark as when winning a handicap at this track last year.
Calvinist has claims if putting last week’s disappointing effort behind him, while others who can be given chances include Raashdy and Lady Shanawell.
The in-form Agentleman merits respect despite another rise in the weights for his recent Fontwell second but he idled in front last time and has a slightly suspect temperament.
Last year’s winner Roll Of Thunder shouldn’t be discounted despite his 8lb higher mark on this occasion. However, a chance is given instead to the eased-in-grade topweight ASK ROBIN for the Lambourn handler Jamie Snowden who operated at a 57% strike-rate (4-7) at Hexham during the 2019-20 jumps season.
Court Baloo faces a tough task in seeking to supplement his 2019 gains, while the penalised Cartmel winner Ever So Much (Duty Girl third) needed some kidding along by his regular rider Richie McLernon.
Maison D’Or looks the pick of the Micky Hammond pair, while the unexposed handicap debutante Missthecuddles needs monitoring in the market. However, reverting to the smaller obstacles, Lucinda Russell’s EMIRAT DE CATANA gets the vote after a late mishap over fences at Perth.
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