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SKATMAN won his sole outing in Irish points and was bought for £170,000 before joining Paul Nicholls. Well held on his debut for Nicholls in an Ascot bumper, he then overcame inexperience fitted with a tongue tie to make a winning hurdling debut at Musselburgh in March – asserting on the run-in under a hands-and-heels ride. He seems sure to do better over hurdles and it will be disappointing if he can’t defy a penalty here to follow up.
BRAVEMANSGAME developed into a smart novice hurdler during the latest season, winning the Challow at Newbury before hitting the frame in the Ballymore at Cheltenham and the Sefton at Aintree.
An easy winner of his sole start in Irish points, he is the type to make a better chaser and the 12lbs he receives from Fusil Raffles and The Big Breakaway on debut here could prove decisive. He rates a confident selection to provide Nicholls with a third success in this race since 2014.
BALLYMILLSY won over hurdles at Warwick in February and was in the process of running well when falling in a novice at the same course in April. He now reverts to handicapping and is well worth another chance to prove himself better than a BHA mark of 127, representing the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard which can usually be relied upon to have a horse ready first-time-out.
TALLOW FOR COAL is a point winner who displayed fair form on two of his three starts over hurdles last winter, including when third on his final outing at Hereford in February. He is every inch a chaser on looks and it will be no surprise if he proves a totally different proposition now embarking on a career over fences. With that in mind, he is very much one to be interested in as he starts out in handicaps from a lowly base.
SEELOTMOREBUSINESS showed plenty of ability on his first two starts around this time last year, winning a bumper at Ffos Las and a maiden hurdle at Chepstow. Admittedly, he went off the boil during the second half of the season, but a breathing operation during his subsequent absence has hopefully sorted him out. He is still unexposed over hurdles and could be worth chancing now fitted with cheekpieces for his return.
IL RIDOTO showed fairly useful form over both hurdles and fences when trained in France. He has since joined a yard with an excellent record with French recruits, so it will be interesting to see whether the market speaks in his favour in this handicap. A BHA mark of 133 looks about right on the limited evidence we have, and he is unlikely to lack for fitness despite not being seen in competitive action for six months.
LALLYGAG was very green but stuck to his task well when fifth in a bumper at Taunton in April. That was his only run for Kayley Woollacott before joining Nicholls and the large ‘P’ attached to his Timeform denotes that he is likely to make significant improvement with that experience under his belt. He already has the best form in the book and should take plenty of beating unless one of the newcomers proves to be well above average.
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