This looks quite a competitive novice hurdle and a chance is taken with SMITHS CROSS who is having his first run since wind surgery having shown plenty of promise over hurdles and fences. Southwell winner Apres Le Deluge is an obvious danger.
Havana River dropped a strong hint she can win soon when returning from a layoff with a big run at Southwell last week but slight preference is for JESSICA RABBIT, who gave a very good account of herself in a novice hurdle in July and didn’t really have the race run to suit before finishing well for second in a C&D handicap a few days later. Christopher Robin rediscovered some form last month and should also feature, while Grand Enterprise gets a mention after running well on his latest outing.
Paul Webber’s GO AS YOU PLEASE is still seeking his breakthrough win but the form of his C&D fourth on his chasing debut in July has worked out well, and he posted another good effort when second over 2m6f here last month. Auld Sod comes here after scoring on his recent stable debut at Fontwell and might travel more sweetly in refitted blinkers today, but an 8lb rise for beating an exposed 10yo by a hard-fought neck seems tough. A bigger threat to the selection may come from Veiled Secret, who made a promising stable debut four weeks ago.
Ben Pauling’s 6yo NORTHERN BOUND went close on his Irish point debut in 2018 and ran well in a fairly competitive handicap hurdle last month. He is taken to make a winning chase debut. Vue Cavaliere has been absent for seven months but will be a tough nut to crack if able to match the form of her third in 0-120 company at Huntingdon last November. Go To Court was placed over 3m at Bangor in July and looks quite interesting over today’s shorter trip and with cheekpieces fitted.
Nicky Henderson’s unexposed 5yo CHASAMAX chased home a now-134-rated rival on his hurdle debut last November and may not been suited by the heavy ground when below that form at Plumpton in January. He’s not bred to benefit from today’s step up in trip but could be leniently treated for this handicap debut. Recent 2m course winner Hunting Percival has stamina in his pedigree and is feared most. Espalion, Rebel Leader and Gavrocheka are others for the shortlist.
Several of these have a bit to prove at present and the one who appeals most is OSCAR ROSE (nap) who made a promising debut over fences at Stratford and should improve for the experience. Forecast and Field Exhibition are two others to consider.
In what looks a tricky race a chance is taken with SID HOODIE who lacks a recent run but was a progressive sort last season and has conditions to suit. Green Or Black and Perfect Myth are two others with a chance.
It’s hard to rule any of these out, with all the newcomers looking of some interest, and the market is likely to be revealing. The percentage call is GREY FELIX from a yard with a fine record in bumpers, including with debutants. With guaranteed fitness on his side, San Agustin should make his presence felt too.
The Racing Post’s best bets at Uttoxeter on Wednesday
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