IBELO finished down the field in his only two races in Britain in 2017, but after a lengthy absence, and a breathing operation, he showed improved form to make a winning chasing debut at Wincanton in January – having the run of things but impressively strong at the finish.
He supplemented that with success at Huntingdon the following month, a weak race but one he won very easily. He had his winning run ended at the same venue in March, he shaped well up in trip and probably wasn’t seen to best effect. He remains open to further improvement, and with Venetia Willams’ yard enjoying a good start to the campaign, he tops the shortlist.
COMMANCHE RED’s first two starts over fences saw him run into some of the better novices around last term, but stepped into handicap company at Kempton on Boxing Day and he opened his chase account with an efficient performance, not missing a step in a demanding affair. He disappointed in a Grade 2 novice at the same venue subsequently, but he is still unexposed in this sphere, and remains with plenty to recommend him.
There is not a lot to separate the principle players in this contest, but RIGGS comes out top on Timeform weight-adjusted ratings, and given he is open to further improvement, he looks worth siding with. Down the field in a bumper on his debut, Riggs was given a considerate introduction to hurdling at Chepstow in January, within range turning for home but left behind by the front two in the straight.
Upped markedly in trip at Market Rasen the following month, he showed much improved form to finish second – holding every chance when making a mistake at the last, suggesting a fair bit more to come in the future. He appeals as the sort with more to give now sent handicapping and has a good chance on form.
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