SIZEABLE SAM showed ability when second on his bumper debut last November, impressing with the way he went through the race, and he went one better three months on when landing the odds at Warwick, coming out on top in what was a well-contested race of its type. He will surely make at least as good a jumper and is taken to make a winning start to life over obstacles.
STAR GATE was purchased for £140,000 after winning his sole start in Irish points in February, and given his pedigree – his dam was unraced but was out of a half-sister to Grand National winner Amberleigh House – he makes plenty of appeal ahead of his Rules debut.
A winner in both bumper and hurdle disciplines last season, WAYFINDER shaped encouragingly on his chase debut at Ffos Las at the beginning of the month, keeping on well to take second in the run-in. He jumped well in the main on that occasion, and considering it was his first outing for almost seven months, he is entitled to come on for the run. He is capable of better still in this sphere and is taken to get off the mark over fences.
GALILEO SILVER has made a cracking start to life with Sam Thomas, finishing runner-up on his stable debut, before going one better at Sedgefield in August, not needing to be at his best to land the spoils on that occasion. He found just one too good on his handicap debut at Newton Abbot last time, shaping well overall, and with further improvement anticipated, he tops the shortlist.
FANCY SHAPES, who had undergone a breathing operation in the 10-month period she had been absent from the racecourse, showed much more than in her two previous starts under Rules when finishing third at Newton Abbot last month. She appeals as the type to do better now sent handicapping, so she gets the vote to open her account at the fourth attempt.
BLACKJACK KENTUCKY made up into a fairly useful hurdler last season, winning a novice at this course in January, before showing even better form to finish runner-up at Doncaster the following month, just no match for the unexposed winner. He is a point winner, so it is likely he will take to fences, and with Paul Nicholls’s yard in flying form at the minute, he is taken to make a winning start to life over the larger obstacles.
A modest performer in bumpers, THE DARLEY LAMA shaped with some promise over hurdles this time last year, hitting the frame in each of his three outings, and though he has failed to progress in handicaps this term, he has joined a yard, in Dr Richard Newland’s, who are adept at getting the best out of such types. Those that race prominently here are usually favoured, and even a solid pace should still show The Darley Lama to best advantage.
MERCUTIO ROCK makes plenty of appeal on paper, a Maresca Sorrento gelding whose dam was a winner over hurdles in France, and considering Jonjo O’Neill has saddled three debutant winners from his last seven, his charge gets the vote to open his account at the first time of asking.
* All odds correct at time of first publishing but may change. Prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets.
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