A huge field Class 3 handicap with a prize of £7,507. Read on for expert analysis and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: BYE BYE O BYE had no chance of winning last time but finished a good second and has the potential to make a bold showing off his current mark at a massive price. This is wide open though and Melrose Boy could provide some stiff opposition as Harry Fry looks to win this race for the third year running. Lip Service is another that is interesting for his new trainer Fergal O’Brien.
1 POTTERS STORY – Won a novice hurdle two starts ago with the minimum of fuss but has failed to build on that in his last two starts. Was a short price favourite when beaten on his penultimate start and was a distance behind the winner at this venue last time.
2 MELROSE BOY – Has had just the four runs and was placed in each of those over hurdles including behind the very useful River Wylde. Handicapping certainly looks like it will be more his game and he could be very well handicapped for Harry Fry who has won this two years running.
3 OSKI – Comes into the race seeking a double having made all in a maiden hurdle at Uttoxeter a few weeks ago. This is a much different test however and it will be difficult to dominate these like he did last time.
4 BUCKLE STREET – Finished ahead a couple of today’s rivals last time when sixth but was still beaten nearly twenty lengths. Ciaran Gethings is a very capable amateur and Martin Keighley has an excellent record at Cheltenham however so he is one to consider.
5 BLACK IVORY – Ran an excellent race when beaten less than a length in a similar event at Aintree last time. Has won in testing conditions before which is a big positive and a four pound rise for his last run doesn’t seem insurmountable.
6 REBEL YEATS – Won two starts ago but struggled to cope with an eight pound rise last time out. Ian Williams has been excellent form as of late and so any of his runners should be noted but this is a very competitive renewal and others are probably better handicapped.
7 TYNECASTLE PARK – It can pay to stick with unexposed types in these events and Robert Eddery’s charge fits the bill having had just four runs over hurdles. Has been placed in each start and further progress is likely, considered.
8 TARRONA – Ran a good race when beaten just three quarters of a length two starts ago but looked well beaten when falling last time. A mark of 120 doesn’t seem particularly generous and he will have to take a step forward to be winning this.
9 ANOTHER FRONTIER – Won back in February in good style but has struggled in handicap company since. Doesn’t jump off the page as a well handicapped horse and will need to return to the form of his win to have any chance.
10 LIP SERVICE – Has yet to win over hurdles but turned in a couple of decent performances in a row over the bigger obstacles in October. Will need to prove he is as good back over timber but Fergal O’Brien is in excellent form and the switch to his yard can only be a positive.
11 WYLDE MAGIC – Ran a big one behind a subsequent Punchestown Festival winner two starts ago but was a beaten favourite on reappearance. Clearly has potential and probably brings some of the best form in the race to the table; interesting.
12 TEMPURAN – Switched to Alastair Ralph three starts ago and it has proved to be a good switch so far. Has turned in three solid performances in a row and got off the mark for his stable at Ludlow last time, needs more but shortlisted.
13 UNDEFINED BEAUTY – Looked gone at the game before joining the Olly Murphy stable but has turned inside out since then. Form figures of 211 are since the switch are very encouraging and no surprise if she runs another big one even off this higher mark.
14 MAGUIRE’S GLEN – Hacked up at Newton Abbot two starts ago but looked to be in the handicapper’s grip after a ten pound rise last time.
15 COTTERSROCK – Has been pulled up three times in his last five starts which isn’t encouraging but took a step back in the right direction last time. He was eighth over course and distance that day but will need another chunk of improvement to get involved.
16 BYE BYE O BYE – Bumped into one last time when beaten eight lengths into second but that wasn’t a bad effort. He is getting on but rarely runs a bad race and in a contest where plenty are in with chances he wouldn’t be one to dismiss.
17 ATLANTIC GREY – Has had just the two starts over hurdles and was placed in both those attempts. Comes here with an unexposed profile and is interesting off a mark of 112 for Nigel Twiston-Davies who has done so well at Cheltenham recently.
18 GRAN MAESTRO – You have to go back to 2015 to find the last win for this horse and that doesn’t bode well in such a competitive contest. Seems unlikely he will turn around the form with Wylde Magic from last time, others more appealing.
19 SUNNYTAHLIATEIGAN – Has won two of his eight starts over hurdles and ran a cracker to be a close up second last time. Races off the same mark today and has a fair chance for in-form jockey and trainer combination of Ian Williams and Bryony Frost.
20 CORNISH WARRIOR – Was never threatening the leaders when sixth last time but plugged on to be beaten around nineteen lengths. That wasn’t a terrible run and will enjoy the distance and ground so could improve on that.
21 SHEER POETRY – Won by seventeen lengths last time but that was over fences and has generally been seen to better effect in that sphere. Well treated based off that win given an eleven pound lower mark over timber but a slightly risky one.
22 CHARLIE’S CHARM – Had no real chance in any of the hurdles he’s run in so far but has shown some ability and will have been aimed at handicaps. A mark of 108 is not unfair and has the potential to take a big step forward on his handicap debut; interesting.
23 SAMSON – Was beaten a long way when eighth here on Friday and doesn’t look to have any greater chance of getting involved here. Would be a remarkable performance were he to win or even place.
24 LAMBS LANE – Comes over from Ireland and his trainer has been amongst the winners lately but the balance of his form doesn’t give him much chance in this company. Needs to find improvement from somewhere.