IN SUMMARY: The potential of WHO’S MY JOCKEY sticks out like a sore thumb and he should have far too much improvement in him for these. He improved on a useful hurdling debut when sauntering clear at Uttoxeter on his latest start and with an opening mark of 123 not in the least bit harsh, he can take this under the Champion Jockey Richard Johnson. Bastien should come on for his seasonal debut and he looks sure to play a key role with a ten pound claimer aboard.
1 BASTIEN – Two wins from four hurdling starts, returning this season with a very good third at Sandown earlier in the month. He clearly needed the run and had a dire passage, so off only a pound higher he’s a key player under ten pound claimer Kevin Dowling.
2 WHO’S MY JOCKEY – Lovely pedigree and improved on a good hurdling debut to win a Uttoxeter Novice earlier in the month. That form is nothing special but a mark of 123 on handicap debut isn’t harsh and he remains with potential for much better. Looks sure to go close.
3 GOLAN FORTUNE – Broke his hurdling duck at the fourth attempt with a good victory at Sandown two weeks ago, beaten Bastien by two lengths. He’s now five pounds higher and looks unlikely to hold terms with that rival who ran a cracker on seasonal debut. Each way claims nonetheless if improving again though.
4 JENNYS DAY – Second at Wincanton on his seasonal debut for Katy Price but he failed to build on that when well beaten at Ffos Las last time. Things get no easier here and he’s on the same mark, so his claims aren’t obvious in a competitive race.
5 RUSSIAN SERVICE – Ran some solid races for Tom Lacey and didn’t run badly on debut for Sam Drinkwater, though he was disqualified as the rider weighed in light. He’s only two pounds lower in a tough race though and looks set for a struggle.
6 TEMPURAN – Running solidly well this season, improving with every run for Alastair Ralph. He got his head in front when making all at Ludlow earlier this month and he’s now ten pounds higher. The best may be yet to come though and he’s likely to make a bold bid from the front.
7 MILORD – Two solid runs in defeat this term for Kim Bailey, last seen over fences at Stratford where he was a close fifth. He returns to hurdling off only three pounds higher which sees him well treated at his best, but a minor role looms in a tough contest.
8 BROWN BEAR – Arrives here on a four-timer for Nick Gifford, coming home strongly to get up at Ascot in the shadows of the post. He’s now eight pounds higher which makes things tougher but he should improve for the step up in trip and is a key player.
9 MAGUIRE’S GLEN – Only three wins from twenty starts over hurdles, struggling at Cheltenham on his latest start in a big field handicap. He’s been dropped two pounds in the handicap but would want much slower ground and looks vulnerable.
10 ACERTAIN CIRCUS – Hasn’t been seen for 924 days which is an immediate concern and although he has some useful form in the book, it’s hard to be confident of his chances. Others are readily preferred on this occasion.
11 NOW MCGINTY – Some useful form in bumpers in Ireland before joining Stuart Edmunds where he has posted two useful runs over timber. He was keeping on to finish third at Chepstow three weeks ago and that would suggest he’ll need further to show his best.
12 VERANO – Showed some good form towards the end of 2015 for Dan Skelton but he has shown very little for Oliver Greenall in two runs this year. He was well beaten at Ludlow three weeks ago and can only be watched.