Keen-goer For Pleasure dominated two handicaps from the front in July and ought to make another bold bid today, but he has to concede 10lb to three bumper winners and might prove vulnerable this time.
The pick is hurdling debutant SHANTOU EXPRESS, who scooted clear to beat a good horse here last October and was third in a strong Listed race at Ascot afterwards.
One True King and Perfect Predator are others to consider.
Seddon opened his chasing account in a small-field handicap at Cartmel last month, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll fulfill the considerable promise he showed over hurdles two seasons ago and, now penalised, he could be worth opposing.
BOREHAM BILL lacked fluency when third at Newton Abbot last month but did well to hang in there for as long as he did and could be the answer to this if he gets into a better jumping rhythm.
Crooks Peak is an interesting chasing debutant, while Darling Maltaix ought to be on the premises.
The safest option in this selling handicap is CHEF DE TROUPE, who posted a good effort when fourth at Uttoxeter in July. Today’s rider Cillin Leonard is very good value for his 8lb claim against other conditionals.
Handicap debutant Leroy Brown is a player if judged on his Uttoxeter second two starts ago, but was a disappointing favourite last time and is not an easy one to predict.
Dariya also has a point to prove after a substandard effort but is next on the list.
It’s easy to make a solid case for Fidux, who followed his Summer Plate second with another very good effort here last month and ought to have this race run to suit.
However, slight preference is for IRISH PROPHECY, who was quite badly hampered by a faller in the home straight when second to One Forty Seven at Southwell last month and still has the potential to progress from his ready Newton Abbot win in July.
Triple hurdle winner Young Wolf made a good start to his chasing career six weeks ago and is next on the list.
There might still be more improvement to come from Highly Prized, who impressed at Southwell on his latest outing and is now 4-8 over hurdles, but the most interesting runner is arguably ZAMBELLA (NAP).
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ mare is untested on ground faster than good to soft but she held her own in a truly run Grade 2 at Kempton in February, despite not jumping well in the closing stages, and can prove well treated for today’s handicap debut.
Dino Velvet is better than he showed last time, while St Gallen also warrants consideration.
Neil Mulholland’s string is going well and CAROLINES CHARM is worth considering with his Market Rasen run behind Little Stevie perhaps needed.
Last year’s winner Atlantic Storm has to be feared back on more suitable ground than last time, when he still ran well.
Nicky Henderson’s four-year-olds HOOPER showed his inexperience in the home straight and was eased inside the final furlong of his debut at Huntingdon in November, but he still shaped with significant promise there and can take a big step forward here if a subsequent wind op proves successful.
Only Money has been absent since his Fontwell win 526 days ago, but that form has worked out well enough for him to be of interest.
Harrowby struggled in a Listed race on his debut but it’s interesting that Alan King felt he was worthy of a place in that line-up.
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