It’s hard to see beyond THIRD TIME LUCKI, who fared best of the British-trained runners when fourth in the Cheltenham Festival bumper in March and now begins his hurdling career. Calvario made the frame in a good Newbury bumper last winter and can fare best of the others.
Olly Murphy’s well-bred newcomer Lord Of Kerak cost €240,000 as a three-year-old and will be feared if strong in the betting, but WILDE ABOUT OSCAR showed some useful bumper form last season and is selected to make a winning hurdle debut. Imperial Icon is considered each-way.
Cabot Cliffs and Jan Wellens both represent respected stables, but this will probably be fought out by NAIZAGAI and Morna Moralia. John Quinn’s gelding took to hurdling quite well at Sedgefield and has plenty of potential to build on his second there, but Naizagai dominated at a strong pace at Cartmel in August and could be hard to catch.
Eden Du Houx was fourth in a hot novices’ handicap hurdle on his latest start in March, form that was very well advertised when the winner (McFabulous) impressed at Chepstow a week ago. However, the cheekpieces are missing today and perhaps the answer will be CHECKITOUT.
He was placed in a good Irish point in 2018 and displayed significant promise over hurdles last year. Morning Vicar and Killer Clown are just two of the other good chasing prospects in a very interesting novice handicap.
This is competitive, though a few of them will probably be back over fences sooner rather than later. POETIC RHYTHM is not as good as he was, but it could be that he needs a trip these days and he returns with his stable going well. Midlands National runner-up Captain Drake also liked it here during his brief hurdling career and he could be the danger, with Bryan Carver’s claim easing his welter burden.
This is wide open, but GARS BAR DINE could be interesting on only his second run for Dan Skelton. He was seemingly fancied for his first when last seen a year ago and it later transpired that he finished lame. Shanty Alley might well have won off his current mark had he not come down when last seen and he’s a danger, along with Easy Bucks.
Of the two comfortable last-time-out winners, RADJASH (NAP) is the more likely to follow up as he has proved himself on soft ground, whereas Breffniboy appeared helped by the fast ground at Exeter. The latter’s stablemate How’s The Cricket also has ground doubts to overcome, but he’s a winner in waiting by the looks.
Several of these make appeal in what looks a well-above-average mares’ bumper, however top of the list is ISHKHARA LADY. She has been absent for 22 months but impressed when winning on her debut at Plumpton.
On My Command gained her own impressive Plumpton win much more recently and is feared most. Billams Legacy, Dorisa Queen and Global Famenglory are three newcomers with very good credentials on paper.
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