Kim Bailey’s LORD APPARELLI was beaten about 27 lengths when sixth on last month’s hurdle debut at Wetherby. But, he ran well for a long way there and, in this easier race, can be given another chance to deliver on last season’s bumper promise. Hurricane Mitch ran well in defeat at Wincanton in January and looks the main danger.
Sign Of War stays well and can pose a potent threat if last month’s reappearance outing did him good, but one with more potential for improvement is MY MUMS POSH (NAP). Noel Williams’ mare ran very well when fourth at Plumpton a fortnight ago and her dam won chases over marathon trips on slow ground. Jimmy Bell is next on the list.
Benson showed a good attitude having had to wait for the breaks over course and distance last time. He sets the standard under a penalty. However, there are reasons to believe that with his stable among the winners, A DISTANT PLACE might be able to leave the form of his hurdles debut behind and score. Just The Man would be of interest if transferring his Flat ability to this sphere and along with Franco D’Aunou and Conundrum, looks worth a market check.
German Flat winner Secret Potion should have the ability to have a big say if more fluent this time, but he has that to prove and preference is for ACROSS THE LINE, who is taken to improve upon his hurdles debut and score. Grey Felix can probably get involved, while more was clearly anticipated from Velasco on his hurdling introduction and he may also get competitive.
Kauto The King drew clear to win quite easily on his recent chasing debut and commands respect under a penalty, but today’s race looks more competitive and a very interesting alternative is ECLAIR SURF. Emma Lavelle’s six-year-old ran poorly on his latest hurdle start in March but was deemed worthy of a crack at a Grade 1 event after last November’s very promising rules debut, and his earlier Irish point win bodes well for his prospects as a chaser.
Beet Topper starts off for Fergal O’Brien on a lowly mark and will be feared if strong in the betting. However, preference is for GETAWAYTONEWBAY, who can be excused her below-par run behind three of today’s rivals at Wincanton last month and is now only 3lb higher than when gaining a clear-cut win at Stratford in September.
Dollar And A Dream won the aforementioned Wincanton race, but the third Princess Midnight made costly late jumping errors there and may be able to reverse placings with him and the runner-up, Hold Me Tight.
An 11lb rise and a drop back to shorter for the in-form Cotton End could make her vulnerable and the suggestion is to side with LEX ELEVEN, who may benefit from a drop back in trip on today’s handicap debut. Full Of Surprises heads the list of other potential contenders.
Pats Fancy is proven on heavy ground, and the form of last month’s Ffos Las second probably sets a fair standard here. However, there are some interesting newcomers on show and QUID PRO QUO, a half-brother to a Grade 3 bumper winner, is arguably the most appealing in that group. Shearer and Gentleman Kap also warrant serious consideration.
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