IN SUMMARY: Silent Steps was 0/6 over hurdles for Nicky Henderson but he now returns to action with the Paul Nicholls team and is highly interesting. Preference though is for LIBBY T VALANCE, who is capable of much better than her two third places over hurdles thus far. Both her runs suggest she will improve for this step up in trip and with her opening mark lenient, she can go in under Aidan Coleman.
1 GOLD MOUNTAIN – Won a tactical course and distance handicap over fences three starts ago for Alexandra Dunn before being well held in two subsequent runs. He now returns to hurdling off a four pound lower mark and has obvious claims if able to transfer his chasing form.
2 PENGO’S BOY – Won three starts ago at Newton Abbot in a Class 5 event, not disgraced in this grade the last twice when placing at both Ascot and Exeter. He’s up another three pounds from his latest start but he should improve for the step up in distance and is respected.
3 ONE OF US – Set some tough tasks in bumpers, posting only very ordinary form over hurdles thus far. He faded badly on the run when third at Uttoxeter last time out, though today’s better ground should help stamina wise. Lizzie Kelly claims three but others are preferred at the weights.
4 LIBBY T VALANCE – Won a bumper at Worcester in June, finishing third on both her hurdling runs thus far. Both her hurdling runs suggest that she will improve for this new trip on handicap debut and can improve past these.
5 SILENT STEPS – Six year old mare for top connections who has been frustrating to follow, 0/6 over hurdles for Nicky Henderson. She has finished second the last twice, well held in that position at Ayr back in April. She now returns with Paul Nicholls off a pound higher and although she is capable fresh, others are readily preferred.
6 COMELY – A horse for The Queen who is yet to make an impact over hurdles for Nicky Henderson, well beaten at Kempton when last seen in May. She now makes her handicap debut off a very lightweight but it’s hard to get excited about her chances as she’s shown very little.
7 GOOD NEWS – Four runs over timber thus far for this modest gelding who was well beaten at Fontwell when last seen two weeks ago, plugging on at the one pace over the 3m 1f distance. A drop back in trip should suit but others are readily preferred now he goes back up in grade.