Escapability was a creditable second in a good Market Rasen handicap last month and will be a very tough nut to crack if in similar form here, but he’s already been beaten at fairly short odds in two novice hurdles this year and his 0-20 career strike-rate is another cause for concern.
Preference is for SHANTOU MASTER, who left his very uninspiring Irish point form behind when winning here on last month’s rules debut. Course bumper winner Some Might Say is next on the list.
This looks the weaker of the two divisions and is a tricky puzzle to solve. BASHFUL BOY has been placed in two novice hurdles this summer and is perhaps the safest option.
Givepeaceachance made a promising hurdle debut last winter and is second choice. Who What When showed useful form in bumpers, but made a low-key start to her hurdling career last season.
Dual French AQPS Flat winner Fifty Ball will be feared if strong in the betting, while Balladame struggled in slow-ground novice hurdles last season but his good-ground bumper form offers hope he can do much better here.
Smart hurdler GETAWAY TRUMP failed to fulfil high expectations in a truncated chasing campaign last season, during which he developed a worrying tendency to finish weakly.
However, he had wind surgery in late 2019 and can hopefully get his career back on track with a confidence-boosting success here.
Unexposed four-year-old Ga Law makes his chasing debut after only two career starts and looks interesting, while Gateway To Europe has been in good form over hurdles this summer.
Glimpse Of Gold beat 14 rivals to score on his stable debut at Uttoxeter on Wednesday and makes a quick reappearance off the same mark here, but the most interesting runner is arguably the juvenile HISTORIC HEART. He switches to a handicap after a recent win against his own age-group.
Fume went close here on last month’s handicap hurdle debut and is next on the list, while Lilypad has won her last two hurdle starts and is also respected.
Gary Moore’s five-year-old BEAT THE JUDGE (nap) built upon his very promising chase debut when fending off Ashutor to score at Newton Abbot in July and can follow up here.
His old rival Ashutor has also taken well to fences this summer, but was raised 8lb for winning a rather uncompetitive course and distance event two weeks ago and a bigger threat to the selection may emerge from McGroarty.
His has dipped 1lb below his last winning mark and will be suited by today’s drop back in trip. Ballywood lacks a recent run but, if ready to roll, can also feature.
Prabeni got his career back on track when drawing clear over C&D a fortnight ago, but there were some disappointments in that race and his overall record remains rather unconvincing.
Ready preference is for progressive six-year-old YES NO MAYBE SO, who has done very well for his new stable this summer and now bids for his fourth win in a row.
Premier D’Troice ran very poorly when last seen in March, but had made a winning stable debut a month earlier and, if all is well here, may provide the main threat to the selection.
Northern raider FAIR EXCHANGE was given a very positive ride before wilting late on at Sedgefield and, granted more conservative tactics this time, he should be a danger to all.
It’s hoped he doesn’t get lured into locking horns with habitual front-runner Tanrudy. The Happy Chappy will be staying on and he’s feared most, followed by Mogestic and The Manuscript.
Donnie Azoff appeals most of those with experience, but the newcomers are interesting.
SHANTOU’S MELODY has a really taking pedigree and his stable’s 12 bumper runners here down the years have yielded three winners.
Galan Des Planches will want further but his trainer still wins plenty of these races with similar types, while there’s no rush to dismiss the mare Div Ine Tara.
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