Fourteen horses’ line-up for the first at Plumpton today worth a first prize of £3,249 to the winner. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Plenty of unknowns in this race and this should be best left to KHEZERABAD who has decent form so far for Nicky Henderson and looks a class-above these. He should win this at a canter and get back to winning ways after finding things a bit tough at Listed level last time out. Give Him Time and Jam Session will win races at some point but may be outclassed here and can chase him home.
1 Khezerabad – Decent on the level in France when trained by Alain De Royer-Dupre and won a couple of races from 1m1f-1m3f. Made into a good hurdler so far and went a close second in a Class 3 at Cheltenham (Good) on seasonal start in October, losing out useful stablemate Thomas Campbell who has completed a hat-trick since. Easy winner in a class 4 following that but turned over when second favourite in a Listed race at Haydock (Heavy) last time out. Certainly sets the standard here and should be tough to beat.
2 Action Replay – Contested a maiden hurdle at Market Rasen (Good) and Kempton (Soft) and fair form in both. Looks to be a long-term project and best watched for now. Barry Geraghty takes the ride today.
3 Alfred Roller – Another who looks to be being brought along gently. Only modest form in a bumper and a couple of novice hurdles so far on Soft-Heavy ground and should struggle again today against a couple of smart recruits.
4 Celtic Sunlight – Disappointing in three AW maidens at Lingfield and looks well-held even on flat form against a few of these. Makes hurdles debut today and unlikely to figure.
5 Ermyn’s Emerald – Dire form in four runs so far in two bumpers and two novice hurdles, three of them coming here. Looks another longer-term prospect.
6 Faheem – Best form in three bumper runs so far came at Fontwell in October when four-length second behind favourite Tinted Rose who has only been placed in two class 4 event since. Has a lot to find with the likely favourite.
7 Give Him Time – Placed in an Irish point and then bought for this yard for £62,000. Looks more of a handicapper going forward having been ten lengths off the potentially very smart Lough Derg Spirit in a novice hurdle qualifier at Kempton three weeks ago. Could trouble the favourite if putting best foot forward and one for the shortlist.
8 Jam Session – Has won a bumper and a maiden stakes race at Lingfield (Good) over 1m3f in May. Fair form since on the flat and makes his hurdles debut today for yard who do well with these types. Each-way claims.
9 Pop Rockstar – Only sixth of 14 in a Ballinrobe bumper in May then pulled up on first start for this yard at Fontwell (Soft) on hurdles debut last month and doubt will handle the better conditions today. Best watched for now.
10 Seldom Heard – Finished stone last on hurdling debut at Ascot last month in a race won by Thomas Campbell and few others with better form here. Likely to find it tough again and trainer not known for winners here.
11 Tee It Up Tommo – Previously trained by Michael Wigham on the level and has six AW wins to his name up to 1m1f. Have to go back to 2014 for his last one though and his most recent start over hurdles here two weeks ago leaves a lot to be desired in this field.
12 Turnbury – Stayed up to 1¾m on the level but abysmal in three hurdle runs so far. Up against it here.
13 Soiesauvage – Previously trained by master trainer Francois Doumen in France and won a modest amateur event there. Needs to step up on his last-placed Newbury (Good/Soft) finish in a Listed contest last month over 2m but this looks more like his level and could get involved if showing any improvement.
14 Templier – Another from the Gary Moore yard and stayed up to 1¾m on the flat. Won on his last start for Mark Johnston at Musselburgh (Good/Firm) and fair fifth of 8 at Kempton on the AW last month after three months off. Should be a decent introduction for him and one to watch in the market.