Captain Cutter and last year’s winner Duke Des Champs are just two notable names who have scooped this prize in the past. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Plenty of dead wood in this race and it can probably be boiled down to handful of runners. Bandsman will certainly be popular after finishing runner-up four out of his last 5 runs. That being said his price is bound to be skinny so it’s worth taking a chance on HUBERTAS, who was a very useful winner on the flat and can improve for his run at Bangor last time out. He should run the favourite close and pick up the pieces at the finish. Blue Hussar was decent on the Flat also and can chase them home on his debut.
1 Bandsman – Has shown good to form to be runner-up in last three starts with two coming here in Bumpers and the most recent in a Novices Hurdle at Kempton 23 days ago, going down by 4 lengths to the very smart Top Tug. That was good form and should give it a good go for that first elusive win here today.
2 Blue Hussar – Decent on the flat with one win for Micky Hammond since leaving Aidan O’Brien back in 2014. That two length came at Ripon last year but has been off the boil since then. Could be a useful recruit to the Hurdling ranks and interesting on debut.
3 Crockett – Won a Bumper on debut two years ago but only fair form since and was reported to have bled on Hurdling debut when pulled-up at Musselburgh in January. Has joined Steve Gollings since then and others look to have stronger form for this.
4 Don’t Tell Chris – Previously trained by David O’Meara having started life with John Quinn. Only ever showed modest form on the flat and now with Tim Easterby. Hard to fancy on Hurdling Debut.
5 Hubertas – Won the Amateur Rider’s Derby at Epsom in August by ¾ of a length and looked like he would come on for his Hurdling debut when only fifth at Bangor last month. Headgear worn on the flat is back on today and will give the likely short-priced favourite a race based on flat form. Solid chance.
6 Lickpenny Larry – Two runs in Bumpers at Southwell and then Warwick at the start of the year were hardly encouraging and can easily be overlooked in this.
7 Manwell – Won an Irish Point but hasn’t shown much in three runs over Hurdles already this Autumn. Hard to envisage him getting involved here either.
8 Mocassin – Has won four times on the flat with his last coming at Redcar last September but has shown dire form since then. Pulled up on Hurdles debut at Sedgefield 23 days ago and slim chance of being involved today despite the application of a Visor.
9 Speronimo – Made his NH debut at Wincanton in a Bumper 7 months ago finishing well behind in fourth. Long absence to overcome and up in trip today. Market will guide but hard to be enthusiastic about.
10 The Grinder – Never really made an impression in two Irish Maiden Points and was uninspiring in his Bumper debut 26 days ago when last. Doubt he will improve on that today.
11 Missy Myrtle – Only 6th of 8 on Bumper debut at Carlisle in March and has been off since. First start over Hurdles today and best watched for now.