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RIPPER ROO has shown plenty in finishing placed on all three starts to date, first in an all-weather bumper and then in a couple of maiden hurdles at Fakenham and Catterick. He remains open to improvement and gets the vote ahead of last-time-out winner Benny’s Oscar, who must carry 6lbs more.
A dual hurdles winner, TELSON BARLEY posted one of his best efforts over fences when runner-up at Exeter in November – just unlucky to bump into such an improved rival that day. He shaped as if still in good form when third at Fakenham later the same month.
He can also be forgiven his below par performance in very testing conditions back at Exeter last time. He holds solid claims now back on better ground.
BROADWAY JOE showed much improved form to land a gamble at Musselburgh in January, still with plenty to do approaching three out, but making good headway under pressure and squeezing through to lead on the run-in, forging clear in the final 50 yards. He should prove suited by this step up in trip, and with this stiffer track also promising to show him to better advantage, he gets the vote to defy a 6lbs rise.
SHE’SASUPERMACK made amends for her unfortunate reappearance defeat when getting off the mark for the season at this venue in December. She was driven out to win by 2-and-a-half lengths, and though she failed to build on that faced with a stiffish task at Uttoxeter last time, she is now two-from-two over fences at this venue. She is a likeable and consistent mare who is very much respected now going back up in trip.
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Fit from the Flat, THE NAVIGATOR was well backed on his return to hurdles at Sedgefield in September. He duly proved a different proposition on his handicap hurdle debut, coming in for a very confident ride and scoring with plenty in hand.
He improved again to follow that up under a 7lbs penalty at the same venue the following month, again winning with something to spare. Although he has failed to meet expectations on his two subsequent outings, he has been freshened up since then and still looks on a workable mark. He has a good chance on form and is taken to bounce back to the form that saw him land back-to-back races in the autumn.
MOLLY CAREW came in for plenty of support ahead of her return to fences at Taunton in January. She duly justified the faith shown in her, travelling like a horse at the top of her game before putting the race to bed in good style after the last.
She unseated at just the second flight in a listed event at Exeter last time, but looked to have plenty on in that company in any case. She remains of plenty of interest now back in a handicap.
Those with experience in this field don’t set too high a standard, so it could be worth siding with one of the newcomers, and Nicky Richards’s Glorious Spirit makes obvious appeal. A Fame And Glory mare, GLORIOUS SPIRIT is a half-sister to the smart African Gold, as well as the useful Follow The Bear.
Although she will likely do much better when chasing over longer trips, her above-average pedigree is enough to swing the vote in her favour on debut.
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