AJERO is a half-brother to Charbel, a very smart chaser for these connections, and having shaped with promise on both starts seven months apart, he rates a good prospect in his own right. Tongue tied for the first time, he is marginally preferred to Grey Spirit, who has a double penalty to contend with, for all a good-value conditional takes off 7 lb. Whitlock needs a close look in the market on hurdling debut having switched from John Gosden’s yard for 200,000 guineas.
PEMBROKE HOUSE isn’t getting any younger but he was a good second in a 0-120 at Uttoxeter last season, so could be the way to go with his sights very much lowered on this return to action, while he can also boast a good record when fresh. Peter’s Portrait could easily leave behind his opening effort over fences so he’s feared, as it Trumps Benefit, who appeals as the type to bounce back quickly from a below-par effort last time.
WYNN HOUSE was fairly useful in bumpers and made the perfect start over hurdles when landing a mares’ novice at Bangor in September, travelling fluently and jumping soundly in the main. There should be more to come from her in this sphere and is fancied to defy a penalty. Multiple point-winner Champagne Lilly is also interesting for Nigel Twiston-Davies.
MONSIEUR D’ARQUE probably ran into a good one at Newton Abbot last time, who is well fancied for a competitive handicap at Cheltenham on Friday, and he is really motoring over fences now. He could put his handicapping experience to good use for a bang in-form yard and take care of some promising recruits to chasing in Goa Lil, who made a fine return at Chepstow and gets the four-year-old allowance.
JUST MARVIN did quite well to finish fourth after being badly hampered by a wayward rival at a crucial stage at Sedgefield last time and can show he’s still on a workable mark. He won with a bit in hand at Uttoxeter the time before and, still relatively lightly raced, he could have more to offer. Shareef Star was a remote second on his handicap debut but that was on heavy and his Flat ability suggests he could make more of an impact under what should be quicker conditions this time.
ROCK ON TIGER went well for a long way and might have made a winning handicap debut at Uttoxeter had he jumped the last better. The handicapper has raised him 3 lb in the weights, but the winner has since won again to boost the form, and he is preferred to Cremant, who also pushed a subsequent winner close at Warwick.
EVENSTEVENS gets the nod to get his head in front for the first time having shown promise on his handicap debut when runner-up to a very well-handicapped horse in Jobsonfire at Doncaster nine months ago. That rival has since won his next two starts, and Evenstevens is likely to progress further, so should go very close. Innerpickle rates an obvious threat after his recent victory at Newton Abbot.
It’s been a while since NACHI FALLS last tackled fences in public, but if able to translate recent hurdles form to this sphere, he will take plenty of stopping having been rated much higher in the past. Anti Cool bounced back with a solid effort at Warwick and a reproduction of that would put him firmly in the picture, while Grand Coureur could be in line for more minor place money.
Timeform’s tips at Ludlow on Thursday
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