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Nicky Henderson’s 4yo FIRST STREET ideally needs to learn to settle better but he has a hood fitted for today’s hurdling debut and is taken to deliver on the clear promise he showed when second in both of his bumpers. We haven’t seen Zulu Dawn for 597 days but his hurdle debut in a good race at Newbury was very promising. Zafar and Get Up Them Steps can also feature.
After going close on consecutive starts last month War At Sea probably deserves to get a win on the board but preference is for AUTHORIZO, who is only 3lb higher than when winning over fences at Stratford two starts ago and was rated much higher over hurdles at this time last year. Dawn Raider has a poor strike-rate and is not an easy one to predict but he has a very good chance here if able to replicate the form of last month’s Galway third.
Hurricane Ali was very much on a roll when we last saw him over hurdles, while Chasamax belatedly came good and won twice in novice company in June. However, the suggestion is EL BORRACHO, who is 6lb better off with Hurricane Ali than when second on his latest hurdle start and subsequently won a chase off today’s mark.
The most obvious answer is KABRIT (nap), who is 2-2 over fences after winning a shade cosily at Uttoxeter last month and ought to be able to cope with today’s 5lb higher mark. The old-timer Mr Mafia can make a bold bid from the front but Wishfull Dreaming may be able to reverse recent Market Rasen placings with him.
Drumlee Watar and Catchmeifyoucan are both on winning streaks, while Calum Gilhooley is also in good form, but it might be worth chancing MORRAMAN, who wasn’t beaten far when returning from a layoff at Cartmel last month and has slipped to a very tempting mark. Catchmeifyoucan is feared most.
Several of these warrant consideration in a competitive race for the grade but top of the list is ISTHEBAROPEN, who scored in pretty good style last month and probably faced a tough assignment when fourth in a higher-grade C&D contest 17 days ago. Joie De Vivre ran well in defeat on the Flat recently and now reverts to hurdling on a workable mark, while Timetoroe is unexposed over this sort of trip and also looks interesting.
Shiroccan Roll made a creditable start to his chasing career at Exeter and, if given a pass for a less fluent display at Huntingdon, could prove a danger to the progressive SIR TIVO. The selection is possibly a shade unfortunate not to be seeking a five-timer (pecked at the final fence at Stratford on penultimate start) but with the 7lb claimer William Shanahan back in the saddle, can probably just about brush off the attentions of the handicapper.
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