Balagan has improved out of all recognition since his wind op and is respected as he bids for his third hurdle win, but he may find it tough to concede 12lb to PERFECT PREDATOR. He showed some fairly useful form in 2m novice hurdles last season and now moves up in trip.
Alan King’s five-year-old was well held when fourth at Stratford recently, but that race was run at a frantic tempo and he can easily be forgiven.
Point winner Scene Not Herd was placed in a bumper last season and is also a key player
The four-year-old Kitty’s Light took very well to chasing this summer and has potential for further improvement over today’s longer trip.
However, ROSSERK ABBEY didn’t really have the race run to suit before finishing well for fourth at Fontwell two weeks ago and, given that was his first start since January, there is significant hope he will have benefited from that outing.
In a race that makes limited appeal the suggestion is KABRIT, who has run creditably on his two starts this term. Cremant and Ishyaboi look his main dangers.
This looks a stronger contest than the other division and it could be worth taking a chance with FORESEE, who is fit from the Flat and is unexposed as a hurdler.
Pink Sheets and Fibonacci are two others with sound claims.
This can go to THE BAY BIRCH (NAP), who gained a convincing win off a 7lb higher mark on her seasonal reappearance last year and signed off with a very respectable effort at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
The nine-year-old mare is versatile regarding trip/ground and has an excellent strike-rate for Matt Sheppard.
Second choice is Monsieur D’Arque, who was quite impressive in lower-grade company two starts ago. Storm Control and Templepark are others to consider.
France De Reve won in good style on last month’s handicap debut and is not opposed with any confidence.
But, this is a drop in class for TREE OF LIBERTY, who was a bit disappointing last time but ran quite well two starts ago and may now capitalise upon some significant help from the handicapper.
Jubilympics went close course and distance just under a year ago and is next on the list, ahead of handicap debutants Red Nika and Outonpatrol.
Another chance is given to GETAWAYTONEWBAY, who may not have been suited by the switch to front-running tactics when below form last time and produced a good performance to win under a patient ride at Stratford two starts ago.
Wisecracker has been placed in all four completed races this season and is likely to be right in the thick of things again, but he finds it difficult to get his head in front.
Go As You Please needs to prove he can cope with today’s drop back in trip, but has taken well to chasing this season and is another to consider.
This isn’t as competitive as the numbers suggest and it would be no surprise should ANYWAYYOULOOKATIT transfer his improved chase form back to hurdling. If so, he’ll be hard to beat.
Dorado Dollar moved well for a long way on his comeback run and, if that was needed, then he could be next best.
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