IN SUMMARY: A tough race to try and call with so many newcomers to hurdles to deal with but it may be worth taking a chance on the Paul Nicholls trained ACT OF VALOUR who has been the subject of some glowing gallop reports and will have been well schooled ahead of his hurdling debut today.
1 ACT OF VALOUR – Decent enough on the flat when trained in Ireland with a five-length maiden win at Roscommon and he has to be of interest on his hurdling bow now that he has moved to Paul Nicholls. Sean Bowen rides the son of Harbour Watch who has been found a very winnable race for his debut over obstacles.
2 EMBOLE – One run so far in a Cluny bumper when last of four but now in the care of the in-form Dan Skelton and could do a lot better faced with some hurdles. Unsurprisingly Harry Skelton rides and it will be more than a little interesting to see if the market speaks in his favour this afternoon.
3 LOOK MY WAY – Two wins on the flat with the latest a twenty-two length romp over two miles on heavy going at Ffos Las on his last run for Andrew Balding. Moved to John Quinn for his hurdling career but stamina is clearly his forte and he may find this trip on the short side over hurdles on the predicted soft ground.
4 OUTCROP – The winner of a Class Five handicap and more recently a Class Six seller for Hughie Morrison but a distant fifth at Uttoxeter on his only run over hurdles when weakening rapidly two out on his first run for Jennie Candlish. Likely to start at a big price this afternoon and rightly so on what we have seen so far.
5 WISHMAKER – Third and fourth in his two bumpers to date and only beaten two and a quarter lengths at Huntingdon last month. Interesting to note he has only completed over a mile and five plus and tries two miles on his hurdling debut, breeding suggests stamina may not be his strong point, and he may need a weaker contest to get off the mark for trainer Tony Coyle.
6 SHINE BABY SHINE – Philip Kirby’s filly gets seven pounds all round as her sex allowance and has been in good form on the flat with a win at Southwell and a second here at Newcastle on the all-weather in August and September. Those were fairly poor Class Six contests and she will need to improve considerably for the obstacles she faces for the first time here.