Sedgefield winner Historic Heart held his own against older horses in a big-field Fontwell handicap last month and his proven hurdling ability is an obvious selling point, but there are some very interesting recruits from the Flat in opposition. Top of the list is MIDNIGHTS LEGACY, who ran to a useful level when winning two middle-distance handicaps at Haydock in June and is from a good dual-purpose family. First Impression won a good-quality handicap last month, while Camahawk is another very appealing newcomer to hurdling.
This will take some winning. On BHA figures ONE NIGHT IN MILAN was narrowly the best of these over hurdles and, as a half-brother to Gold Cup hero Native River, hopes are raised that he can scale even greater heights as a chaser. Champagne Well and Shan Blue are no less promising and feared in that order.
Lord Apparelli made the frame in two good bumpers last season and ought to make his mark over hurdles in the near future but it’s hard to be swayed from triple bumper winner ASK A HONEY BEE, who also makes his hurdling debut today.
A race that should produce plenty of future winners and preference is for MARTINHAL, who made a winning bumper debut in fine style at Huntingdon in March. Point winner Across The Channel is feared most on his rules debut, with Philip Hobbs having won this last year. Inca Rose, Kilbrook and Valleres are others to consider.
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A competitive autumn handicap for jumps fans to enjoy. ALMAZHAR GARDE did well when switched to fences last season and, still only five, there can be optimism he will continue to improve. He is preferred over Schiehallion Munro, who was very impressive when last seen at Catterick in January. Ecu De La Noverie, another progressive sort, is also respected, while it will be interesting to see if wind surgery helps Sky Pirate find more off the bridle.
Plenty to consider but the first choice is TEESCOMPONENTS LAD, who lacked a run when fourth to Jacks Last Hope in this last year and yet returns this time after an encouraging run on ground too lively at Perth. Western Rules was ahead of him that day and has to be respected, but Loverboy may pose the main threat.
Destined To Shine won in good style at Uttoxeter ten days ago and is respected under his penalty but this race looks much more competitive. Preference is for dual C&D winner MOVIE LEGEND, who makes his seasonal debut from a workable mark. Zizaneur unseated his rider at the third-last fence in his first two chases but was very much in contention on both occasions and is now 3lb lower. Good cases can also made for Vado Forte and Amoola Gold, who are very closely matched on a piece of Newbury form from last season.
Anemoi looked very promising as a novice during the 2018-19 season and has been given a chance by the handicapper after his long absence but talented Flat-racer PROSCHEMA (nap) could also be well treated and gets the nod. Dan Skelton’s 5yo was fighting out the finish with a subsequent Listed winner when left clear to win a C&D novice last November. Oakley and Miah Grace are others with appealing profiles in an interesting finale.
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