A decent Handicap Hurdle with a few nice horses on show and in the likely ground this could turn into a slog. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Mitcd won well recently, jumping effectively and although she went up 7lb for that win her jockey’s claim will counteract that today and she can go well again although the forecast softer ground is a worry. She is taken on with FIDDLER’S FLIGHT who won well under similar conditions back in February and his fitness is worth chancing on his first start of the season. Astrum has never won on ground this soft but is a C&D winner and rates a solid each-way if taking to it.
1 Astrum – Won a Maiden Hurdle here in April scoring nicely by 2 ¾ lengths over 2m on Gd/Sft. Found little since but had been going quite nicely at Kelso last month before un-shipping rider. Hard to know what would have happened that day but races off the same mark today. Never won on ground this soft however and will probably have to settle for minor honours today.
2 Civil Unrest – Won at Hexham in a Chase over 1m7f last month, coasting to victory by 2 lengths. The return to fences obviously did the trick that day but returned to Hurdles on last start at Musselburgh and finished 6th of 7 on the same Chasing mark. Blundered badly in that race and will ideally prefer ground so can be ignored on this occasion.
3 Discoverie – Has a wonderful record here with 5 of his 6 career wins coming at this track including a treble in the Spring. On a good mark for this but has been a bit off in his last two races including here last month and drop in distance a slight worry against some of these.
4 Herecomestrouble – Hasn’t run since April 2015 when trained by Chris Grant and has his first start for new yard today. On a decent enough mark but probably best watched for now after such a long absence. Others more persuasive.
5 Byronegetonefree – Has won twice on the Tapeta this year and didn’t really fare too well in 3 Hurdle races at the start of the year. Flopped on at Kelso on his latest start and hard to fancy in this line-up.
6 Shalamzar – Has won 3 times on the Flat in his career including a Ladies event at Haydock in May but yet to score over Hurdles for Micky Hammond and he was well off the pace in his comeback run this Autumn when finishing 8th at Catterick last month. Has a decent mark to contend with and market may guide as to expectations but strike rate is off-putting.
7 Fiddler’s Flight – Clearly enjoys this track having won here on Boxing Day by 1 ¾ lengths from Discoverie and then again in February, getting up to win by ½ length on that occasion. He is only a 1lb higher for that and with question marks against a few of these, is worth chancing to make his seasonal return a winning one.
8 Mitcd – Previously trained by Martin Todhunter where her form was mixed at best but was impressive on debut for new yard at Musselburgh 8 days ago, running them ragged to score by 9 lengths. Her jumping was impressive that day and she has subsequently gone up 7lb although her jockey’s claims will negate that to some degree. Could easily follow up but ground a worry and this may come too soon.
9 Mrs Grass – Won a fair Handicap Hurdle at Hexham in June getting up to win by 1 ½ lengths but hasn’t shown much since in 5 runs. Well beaten on last two starts here and at Hexham again and 2lb out of the weights today. Not hard to look elsewhere.