IN SUMMARY: HARTSIDE hinted that he was starting to run back into form last time when better than the bare result. Twice in the frame in three visits here, he is thrown in on the best of his form. Handy Hollow looks as if he is in need of further but as the least exposed in the contest, he is worth considering as the main danger to the selection. Lucarno Dancer is unpenalised for her recent win, if she can reproduce that effort then she is another player.
1 HANDY HOLLOW – The least exposed in the field, he has finished second or third on all four starts. Underfoot conditions suit and starts handicapping at a workable level but shapes as if a little further would suit sooner rather than later. Solid shout with further improvement.
2 STONEBOAT BILL – Tough to win with, he has proved hard to settle in this discipline. His opening handicap gambit looks fair on his flat race efforts with no concerns over cut in the ground but others preferred for win purposes.
3 HEAR THE CHIMES – Solid in this discipline, both wins coming from slightly higher. No record fresh which is a significant concern given that he hasn’t been seen since June so passed over despite a tempting mark on the best of his form.
4 SLEEP IN FIRST – Best form has come from the front, most recently when winning from this mark at Hexham in June. Lost his form rapidly since but with a win here in the past, a return to form would come as no surprise with conditions in his favour.
5 CLONDAW BANKER – Formerly smart, he has regressed rapidly in the last year. Has more than his fair share of attitude so even from what should be a tempting mark, he is very hard to fancy.
6 HARTSIDE – Twenty-one pounds below his last winning mark, he hinted that his time was near when running better than the bare result suggests last time. Twice placed in three visits here, conditions will suit, he looks capable of outrunning his price.
7 PERTUIS – Veteran is 0/18 over hurdles, saving his best efforts for the flat. Well seen off from this mark in March, it would be a shock result if he were to lead them home.
8 MITCD – Enjoys her visits here, she has produced four of her five best runs at this track. Finished weakly on her last visit which was a little disappointing as she looked the winner. Two pounds higher now but still needs plenty of each way respect.
9 MAIN FACT – Three poor runs for a mark over further on good ground. Best flat form all on heavy so will enjoy this more cut in the surface but stays 1m 5f on the level so this looks on the sharp side now he tries his hand in handicaps.
10 LUCARNO DANCER – Belatedly off the mark at the twelfth time of asking, she found soft ground at this trip to her liking. Will need to up her game in this better contest but that’s possible if she takes confidence from that success.
11 CHRISTMAS IN USA – Yet to score in twenty-one starts in all disciplines. He showed a shade more last time having begun life in this country on a high mark but a stiffer track and a little further would suit him better.
12 CHERRY PRINCESS – Finally cashed in on a slipping handicap mark at Hexham in September. Well beaten from this new level since, she is going to have to produce a career best over obstacles if she is to win this.
13 MAHLER BAY – Yet to get closer than third, two such runs coming at this track albeit at a respectful distance from the winners. This looks far too tough for him despite the seven pound claim from his rider cancelling out the weight he is out the handicap.