IN SUMMARY: This is likely to be a showdown between Master of Irony and SAM SPINNER, with preference for the latterly Jedd O’Keeffe trained 5 year old. He has posted two good efforts over hurdles thus far after looking useful in bumpers and this step up in trip should eek out further improvement, so he seems the likeliest winner today. His John Quinn trained opponent will be no push over however, and needs to be respected.
1 MASTER OF IRONY – Thrice a winner on the flat for Ralph Beckett and now has joined John Quinn, successfully winning his hurdling debut with relative ease at Catterick (2m 3f, Good to Soft). Further improvement can be expected with that under his belt and has to be considered a main danger today.
2 SAM SPINNER – Bumper winner who made a smooth transition to hurdling when winning well at Newcastle in November (2m, Good to Soft), and was far from disgraced when finishing behind a potentially useful winner at Kelso a few weeks ago (2m, Good to Soft). The step up in trip is a big plus if judged on pedigree and previous performances and should eek out further improvement from Jedd O’Keeffe’s 5 year old.
3 TONTO’S SPIRIT – Very modest on the flat but did win on his second attempt over hurdles, beating an average field at Cartmel back in May (2m 1f, Good). Unexposed but still has a lot to find with some of these and should struggle today.
4 BETWEEN THE WATERS – Point to Point winner who’s not progressed under rules, easily beaten in two hurdles runs thus far at Southwell (3m, Good) and Leicester (2m 4f, Good). Set another tough assignment today and unlikely to land a blow for win purposes although placing isn’t out of the question.
5 BOCASIEN DESBOIS – Won a Point to Point but tailed off a long way behind Master Of Irony at Catterick a few weeks ago (2m 3f, Good to Soft) and doesn’t look like a likely contender today.
6 GLORIOUS DANCER – Has won twice on the flat including a low grade Chelmsford handicap (1m 2f, Std), but has been set a difficult task on hurdling debut against some potentially useful types. Doesn’t strike as the winner today.
7 HECANSTING – Finished 3rd in three Point to Points and has quite a nice pedigree, so he should have a future under rules. This however is a tricky starting point after 231 days off the track and may need this today.
8 PADDLING – Brushed aside in 3 bumpers including at Ayr on his latest start (2m, Soft), and best watched on hurdling debut in a hot contest.
9 SUN SPIDER – Placed in a Point to Point in October and now with a good yard (Brian Ellison), so it’d be a surprise for him not to have a future under rules. He does have a useful standard to aim at today though and may just need this run, although places aren’t out of the question on rules debut.