Timeform’s best bets at Wetherby:
ESCAPEANDEVADE was progressive in three starts over hurdles last season, producing his best effort when last seen filling the runner-up spot in a novice event at Kelso in February. A point winner earlier in his career, he is the type to take well to chasing and a BHA mark of 120 looks a fair starting point to life in handicaps. In a race where chase form is in short supply, he is worth a chance to make a winning debut, with the booking of Brian Hughes also catching the eye.
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SPARTAN ARMY was fairly useful on the Flat when trained by Joseph O’Brien, improving with every run before getting off the mark at Down Royal in June. He was subsequently sold for 170,000 guineas and has joined Alan King, who has excelled with similar recruits in the past. In fact, King won this race in 2016 with the hurdling debutant Coeur de Lion and Spartan Army is fancied to emulate that horse by winning here on his way to becoming a useful juvenile.
READYSTEADYBEAU was well backed and shaped encouragingly when third on his chasing debut at Ayr last month, passing the post only two and a quarter lengths behind the winner despite leaving the impression he needs the emphasis more on stamina. That first run for eight months is likely to have blown the cobwebs away and the return to three miles today will certainly be in his favour. He can improve and open his account over fences at the second attempt.
PEMBROKE looked in need of the experience when finishing only seventh on his hurdling debut at Chepstow three weeks ago, never threatening to get seriously involved after a couple of late mistakes. He is sure to improve with that run under his belt, though, and the form he showed when winning his sole start in bumpers highlights that he has an above-average level of ability. Trained by Dan Skelton, who has an impressive 29% strike rate at Wetherby since the start of the 2018/19 season, Pembroke remains very much one to keep on the right side.
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KNICKERBOCKERGLORY made the most of a good opportunity on his chasing debut at Ffos Las earlier this month, having just one rival to beat and doing so with the minimum of fuss as he made all to win by three and a quarter lengths. This will be much tougher from a 4 lb higher mark, but everything about him suggests he is the type to go on improving over fences, an athletic sort and still relatively lightly raced. He usually goes from the front and could take some pegging back around here as he seeks his fourth win in a row for the Skelton team.
LUNAR DISCOVERY was quite impressive when making a successful debut in a bumper at Hexham in May, quickening to lead approaching the home turn and gradually drawing clear from there to land the spoils by five and a half lengths. That was a promising start to her career and she seems sure to progress and win more races. A few interesting newcomers feature among the opposition today, but she is fancied to defy a penalty to maintain her unbeaten record.
Timeform’s best bets at Wetherby:
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