Last week’s wide-margin Fontwell winner Vorashann has be taken very seriously despite the rise in class, though it could be that he’d prefer proper soft ground. The fact that Paul Nicholls targets this race (five wins in ten years) has to heighten interest in THYME WHITE (NAP).
Don’t’ forget he ran so much better than his final placing suggests in the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham. Blacko presumably never gave his true running when the gamble of that race and he remains something of an unknown quantity.
Although Born In Borris has a penalty to shoulder for her Wincanton success, she looks sure to figure with experience on her side. However, there are some interesting hurdling debutantes from top yards in opposition, most notably Paris Dixie, Wild Romance and KILMINGTON ROSE.
Paul Nicholls’ mare ran into a very useful performer on her debut in a bumper, but shaped with plenty of promise and is bred to make a decent jumper. She can win a very interesting and potentially-informative contest.
The best novices’ hurdle of the British jumps season so far. Everglow hails from last year’s winning stable and is presumably held in some regard, while the progressive Courtandbould, Petrastar and Getaround may well have much more to offer than they have been able to show so far.
One For The Team boasts strong staying form, but the selection is McFABULOUS, a talented bumper performer who was not overfaced over hurdles last season but got his act together on his final two starts and may well have plenty more to give. The useful mare Legends Ryde receives weight from her rivals, but needs to improve.
Dual bumper winner FLIC OU VOYOU probably has less on his plate than when going close in this race 12 months ago and he raised his game afterwards, despite four further defeats. As Colin Tizzard had the winner last year, it will be interesting to gauge the level of confidence behind At Large, while Flat recruit Severance should pay his way in this discipline.
Numbers Man needs checking in the market, but the chances are that this will concern SOARING GLORY and Bravemansgame. Both seem well regarded by their top teams and have considerable scope for improvement now jumping. But, having come out on top when they met in two bumpers it’s hard to oppose Jonjo O’Neill’s gelding.
As is often the case in this series there are some well handicapped horses lurking, though most of their best form has gone for good. That’s not necessarily the case with JOE FARRELL, who was a close third in this last year and later beat all bar two improving novices in the Midlands National. Double Shuffle may save his best for Kempton, but has run well on his two previous visits here and he’s feared most.
A fascinating contest. Red River’s potential as a chaser remains unrealised after mishaps in two outings in as many seasons, and he may yet come good with a clear round. It’s day one over fences for three other live chasing prospects however, with marginal preference accorded to ASK DILLON.
He is a fine, staying type who won’t mind how much of the forecast rain arrives. Fellow Irish point scorer Ofalltheginjoints – winner of the 2m novice hurdle on this card last year – is preferred to Enrilo as next best.
Amateur and Royal Magic are obvious contenders in their current vein of form and Illuminated Beauty should improve for going over nearly 3m. However, if ANTONY can get his act together, he could be far too well treated for these. With the yard in form, he’s worth chancing.
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