FINANCIAL OUTCOME got off the mark over fences at Doncaster in January, jumping and travelling with plenty of purpose. He arrives here on the back of an encouraging reappearance as he was second at Ffos Las earlier this month, just left behind by the winner on the run-in. He should remain competitive from this sort of mark, particularly with his rider Peter Bryan taking a handy 7lb off his back.
A winner in Irish points, ASHTOWN LAD shaped as if better for the run when seventh on his Rules debut at Doncaster in January. He duly showed much improved form nine months on to finish runner-up in a course-and-distance handicap – impressing with the way he went through the race, losing little in defeat as he and the winner pulled well clear of the remainder. He remains open to further improvement and holds leading claims for the powerful Dan Skelton yard.
Not much more than a fair performer over hurdles, GUY showed much improved form to make a winning chase debut at Huntingdon earlier this month – scoring convincingly on his handicap debut over fences. That may not have been the deepest of races, but he looks sure to improve and a 12lb rise may not be enough to stop him going in again.
VERDANA BLUE has plenty in hand on this field in terms of her Timeform rating, and she will prove difficult to beat provided she runs close to her best. She won four times during the 2018/19 season, including when beating Silver Streak to land the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.
Although she was a shade disappointing when beaten by that rival at the same venue last time, she had run two excellent races in big handicaps on the Flat prior to that. She sets the clear standard here and is difficult to oppose.
ROCKSANA, winner of the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2018/19, put up another good effort to finish fourth in the same race last season – particularly considering she wasn’t seen to best advantage, not ideally placed as the dash for home began to unfold. She is a smart and likeable mare who receives weight all round and looks a big player provided she’s ready to roll.
CYRNAME produced one of the most impressive performances of the 2018/19 season when following up his handicap chase victory at Ascot with success in the Ascot Chase. He completed an Ascot hat-trick in style when lowering the colours of Altior in the 1965 Chase on his first outing of last season.
Things didn’t quite go to plan from thereon out however, failing to meet expectations in the King George, before falling when beaten in last season’s renewal of the Ascot Chase. He is undoubtedly a top-class chaser on his day, though, and will be tough to beat if anywhere near his best.
DO WANNA KNOW made a successful debut under Rules when landing the odds at Huntingdon last November. After falling heavily two out on his subsequent appearance, he bounced back to winning ways 13 weeks on at Catterick, completing a simple task in workmanlike fashion. He has undergone a wind operation since that February victory, and he remains with potential for better now sent handicapping.
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