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This doesn’t look the strongest race of its type and it is incredibly hard to get away from the claims of DOCTOR KEN, who looked a good prospect when winning a bumper at Market Rasen on his final start last year. He shaped well on his recent debut over hurdles, too, proving his stamina for the longer trip in a race won by a nice type.
Doctor Ken is entitled to strip fitter for that run, which was his first for seven months, and he will be hard to beat granted normal improvement. Pull Again Green is a most interesting hurdling debutant having won both of his starts in bumpers.
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TORN AND FRAYED showed fairly useful form over hurdles last season, winning twice, and produced a promising first start over fences from just out of the handicap at Cheltenham last month. He was also ridden much more patiently than usual too, taking a keen hold in the rear and a little novicey at some of his fences.
Torn And Frayed is very much a chaser on looks, though, and is expected to show the benefit of that experience now. The winner has franked the form since and Torn And Frayed races from his correct mark now. Faivoir rates the obvious threat from the red-hot Skelton team.
This looks a very weak race and on paper looks like a penalty kick for GO DANTE. He was an impressive winner on his sole start in bumpers and again made a deep impression when scoring by 18 lengths on his hurdling debut at Bangor last month. There should be plenty more to come and the obstacles are seemingly his only dangers here.
This looks a competitive handicap, but the one to focus on could be four-year-old French recruit YES INDEED – who is having his first start for Jonjo O’Neill. He won a juvenile hurdle at Auteuil in March earlier in the year and built on his second-place finish on chase debut (strong form) when going one place better to win a chase for four-year-old’s chase at Auteuil in April.
Yes Indeed was last seen midfield in a Grade 1 event in May and it is interesting that new connections are trying to take advantage of his age allowance, now handicapping on these shores. This is a good race, but it will be interesting to see which way he goes in the market. Guy shaped really well when runner-up at Market Rasen on his return and should have more to offer.
LEONCAVALLO ran just about as well as he ever has done when second in a listed handicap over course and distance last month, beaten only by a more progressive rival, and is sure to make a bold bid to go one better if showing up in similar form.
Cabot Cliffs made a sound return to action at Chepstow and may provide the chief threat ahead of Garry Clermont. Although the lightly-raced Method Madness is another interesting contender in a wide-open race.
EVA’S OSCAR was well on top at the finish when making a winning start over fences on reappearance at Chepstow last month, with the well-backed Getaround back in third. He’s fancied to uphold that form provided he brushes up on a couple of mistakes he made that day. Kapga de Lily has a terrific chasing record and, if tuned up for her return, should lay down a big challenge, too.
BADDESLEY placed in a couple of novice hurdles last month and, based on his bumper form, he may well be leniently treated from an opening mark of 111. He’s marginally preferred to the hat-trick seeking Hidden Depths, who is unlikely to dig in if he’s made to battle. Thirtyfourtstitches also warrants a mention and, in the unlikely event of Getalead participating, he’d warrant plenty of respect.
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