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Guy is only 1-10 under rules but has been placed in six of those nine races that he didn’t win. He was second on his two starts this season, firstly at Market Rasen when 2l second to Senior Citizen in a Class 2 handicap. Senior Citizen then ran a length second in the Grand Sefton off a 5lb higher mark. Last time at Ascot, he travelled reasonably well into the race but clouted two out and wasn’t fluent at the last fence and was beaten 3l by Pink Legend here over 2m5f. He would have gone close but for those mistakes and the way he travels through his races suggests this slight drop in trip could suit. He is only six years old and I don’t think a mark of 130 is the ceiling of his ability.
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Boss Man Fred is a useful novice hurdler and he beat Ofalltheginjoints at Kempton over 2m5f. He also beat Springfield Fox by 12l giving him 7lbs at Southwell. He hammered Snow Leopardess on his handicap debut off 124 at Doncaster over 3m, when Snow Leopardess was running off 127 (She won the Becher off 140 last time out).
He disappointed in the River Don and then was off until last October when third on his chasing debut at Uttoxeter behind Hurricane Harvey and Emitom. He was off for over a year since but returns on a handicap hurdle off just 132 and he is still only a seven-year-old. This trip might be too short but he is definitely well treated and I will take a chance on him.
An awful shame to lose Buzz to injury but it’s still an tough puzzle. Champ is very interesting if taking to hurdles. His jumping over fences was always an issue but the fact he beat the following seasons Gold Cup and Ryanair winners in his RSA win just goes to show how much of an engine he has.
Thyme Hill should be favourite, in my opinion. Yes, he ran poorly in France but he wouldn’t be the first to disappoint over there and he was very unlucky not to be 3-3 over hurdles last season. He was caught on the line by Paisley Park last year in this and he really should have won. He also won the Liverpool hurdle at Aintree and for me, he sets the standard.
However, I’m going to take a chance on Ronald Pump each way. He hasn’t won a race since November 2019. In the interim he was second in the Leopardstown Pertemps qualifier off 145, second in a Stayers Hurdle to Lisnagar Oscar and second in two Hattons Grace Hurdles to Honeysuckle. Yes, he was beaten by 8l, but he went toe to toe with her and was the only one to really try and beat her. The return to 3m should see him in an even better light and a repeat of that level of form would leave him bang in the mix here.
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David Pipe has won this twice in recent years, with Broadway Buffalo in 2014 and Daklondike in 2018. Remastered was a Grade 2 winner last season at Ascot on soft ground, however, there are plenty of dangers in here like Acey Milan. Remastered ran a cracker on his seasonal reappearance over hurdles at Aintree when only beaten a little over a length. He was in the process of running a massive race in the Ladbroke Trophy when tipping up four out. You can’t be certain that far out but it looked like he was coming to win the race and gets to run off the same mark of 146 here. Testing ground is in his favour, as the decent ground at Newbury was a concern going into the race.
Checkitout is a seven-year-old who is improving nicely over fences. He won twice last season over 3m, at Southwell off 122 and at Ludlow off 129. He was second here in October in the London Gold Cup Handicap Chase off 132 when beaten 6.5l by Larry. He travelled into the race well but probably went after Glen Forsa a bit early and was picked off by Larry then in the straight. He was 4lb out of the handicap in the Becher last time but ran well when a 16l third to Snow Leopardess. He runs off 132 here and must have really strong each-way claims.
There must be a worry about West Cork bouncing in this one. No Ordinary Joe was an excellent third in the Greatwood despite pulling and must be a big threat here off just 3lb higher. Samarrive got 11lbs for his Sandown win. Goshen is an intriguing contender in a handicap off 153. However, Luttrell Lad has been crying out for a strongly-run handicap.
He won two bumpers and was then fourth in the Grade 2 Aintree bumper, behind the likes of Knappers Hill and Stage Star. He beat a subsequent winner on his hurdles debut at Worcester and was second to Camprond in the Grade 2 Persian War Novices Hurdle at Chepstow. That one was an excellent fourth in the Greatwood off 140.
Luttrell Lad just pulled too hard in that race and with it being 2m3f, he just didn’t finish off as strongly as you would like. Last time he was conceding 7lbs to Jpr One and was beaten a half length. That one was a close second in a novice hurdle at Cheltenham last week. Back in third was I Am Maximus, who won at Newbury this week.
A strong pace and decent field size should help him settle and a mark of 135 is very workable for him. The Philip Hobbs stable did win this in 2015 with the four-year-old Sternrubin.
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