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ILE DE JERSEY made a good start over hurdles in France, beaten by a good prospect on his debut before running out a 15 length winner in a juvenile event at Vittel in August. He has since been snapped up by owners that have enjoyed success with similar types in the past, and has joined a leading yard, so there is plenty to like about him on his British debut. Angels Landing is preferred to the penalised Galah for second.
GALOP DE CHASSE was strong in the betting starting out for this yard at Lingfield in December and he immediately showed improved form to make a winning start, beating a next-time-out winner in the process. He ran no sort of race on his next start, but went with much more zest when runner-up at Huntingdon 12 days ago, leaving the impression he is still fairly treated. He represents a yard still bang in form and he should go close here. Heronord arguably has the most potential off his current mark but his jumping will be tested around here.
The large majority of these are either limited or long-term projects so Dan Skelton’s LAKOTA WARRIOR is fancied to defy a penalty. He was nothing flash in bumpers., but built on the promise of his hurdling debut when scoring at Wetherby in November and ran to a similar level when third under a penalty last time. This looks a very winnable opportunity for him. Zucayan finished runner-up in a trio of bumpers so must command respect on hurdling debut, though.
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There are a few in with a shout but a chance is taken on QUOI DE NEUF putting a disappointing showing behind him last time. This step back up in trip should be right up his street given his best efforts over fences have come at similar distances, and he represents a yard that continue to have a fine season. Isolate confirmed his stamina for this sort of trip when runner-up over course and distance last time so looks a lively danger.
BELLATRIXSA is a two-time winner over hurdles and she arguably run her best race to date when runner-up to a well-handicapped sort at Chepstow last time. That was her first start for seven months and, while a lack of fitness wasn’t evident, she can only come forward for that, and she is back against her own sex now. This looks an open handicap, but she remains relatively unexposed as a hurdler, and could have more to offer. Trapista and Kissesforkatie may well emerge as the chief threats.
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LASSUE opened her account at the second attempt in points and was very green in a bumper at Wetherby on her Rules debut in November. She was quickly switched to hurdles and again showed ability, while also leaving the impression that the experience would aid her development. She was strong at the finish that day and her pedigree also suggests that she will relish this longer trip. Lassue gets weight from the boys here and is expected to launch a bold bid. Mister Splash and Foxinthebox likely have bigger performances in them and should play a part, too.
PONT AVEN showed plenty of class for Willie Mullins and got off the mark for his new yard in ready fashion between the flags recently, so he’s fancied to make a winning start in this discipline. Last year’s winner of this race, The Dellercheckout, should put up another bold showing, while Not That Fuisse’s claims can’t be ignored, either.
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