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TROOPER TURNBULL remains relatively lightly raced and is fancied to build on his promising debut over fences now. He was well backed on that occasion and showed plenty of aptitude for this discipline, sure to have finished second but for making an error at the last.
He jumped well otherwise, and likely learnt plenty for that initial experience, so he is expected to make his presence felt. Away At Dawn beat Burrows Diamond last time and he is taken to confirm those placings.
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There are several to consider here, but it is SKYCUTTER who makes the most appeal for the Philip Kirby team. He was a useful performer on the Flat, last seen finishing fourth in the November Handicap at Doncaster earlier this month, and appeals as the type that will do well now switched to hurdles.
He is related to a smart hurdler in France, so there is plenty to like about his chances. Tarseem surely has more to offer for Dan Skelton, while it’s also too soon to give up on Moulins Clermont.
The step back up to 3m, and the slight drop in grade, are two things in the favour of OSCAR ROBERTSON, who is fancied to notch a second success over fences. He proved he retains all of his ability on his return from eight months off at Newbury earlier in the month – leaving the impression he was ready for a return to further. He is also entitled to strip fitter for the run too. Boughtbeforelunch is reliable overall, so appeals as one likely to get back on track after a below-par run at Cheltenham last month.
This doesn’t look the strongest race of its type and PARISENCORE sets the standard on his runner-up effort to a good prospect at Kelso in October. That was an encouraging start to his career over hurdles, jumping soundly and staying on all the way to the line.
There should be improvement in him now and this looks a good opportunity for him to go one place better. Rory And Me hasn’t been seen since finishing second in this corresponding race 12 months ago, but would be a big threat if ready to roll.
There are only five runners, but this looks a competitive race – with the vote marginally going to CEDAR HILL. He progressed nicely through the handicap last season, winning three times in all, and he posted an encouraging effort on his return from six months off at Musselburgh in October.
That run was even more noteworthy as he was friendless in the betting, suggesting he was badly in need of the run, and much better is expected now. He still looks on a fair enough mark and represents a yard in form, so a big run is expected. Darling du Large is enjoying a productive campaign and is feared most.
Fergal O’Brien is enjoying a terrific season and he does extremely well in this sphere, so PEERLESS BEAUTY and Lassue command maximum respect. The latter won a point in the spring, but the percentage call is the former given her promising run in a deeper bumper than this at Aintree in October, and is seemingly the pick of Paddy Brennan. Betty Getaway and Eleanor Dumont are also interesting newcomers and should be monitored in the market.
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