IN SUMMARY: LOUGH SALT traveled very well throughout when tackling 3 miles for the first time when winning last time out. That display alone gives him the leading claims in a race which doesn’t offer many serious threats. There should be plenty more improvement to come so the 10lb rise shouldn’t be an issue, and he gets the same conditions here. Brian Boranha and Presence Felt are ones with the best place chances and expect a solid run from them both.
1 ALPHA VICTOR – Makes his seasonal reappearance off which looks like a very good mark on his past form. He wasn’t in much form at all when last seen though having pulled up and refused to jump in his last two starts. Looks regressive now and is best watched on this occasion
2 NATIVE OPTIMIST – Won this race under the same jockey last year but only seen on the racetrack twice since then. Is now 5lb higher in the ratings this time around and was pulled up at Hexham when last seen in October. Relatively consistent but bit too much to prove for win purposes.
3 ROWDY ROCHER – Has raced the majority of his career over fences so far, but was a good second when switching back to the smaller obstacles back in April at Kelso. Has won over course and distance and has to be taken seriously with the jockey taking a very useful 7lb off.
4 LOUGH SALT – Got off the mark and improved markedly when winning comfortably over course and distance last month and the 10lb rise looks very manageable for what looks a useful horse. The step up to 3 miles did the trick and he gets the same conditions today under one of the more experienced jockey’s in the race. The Mark Walford yard is in good heart at the moment and is the one to beat.
5 PRESENCE FELT – Has now dropped to his last winning mark over hurdles and has place claims in regards to that. Has only 2 wins under his belt over hurdles from 20 runs though, so is hard to win with, and was a disappointing 6th last time out in a handicap chase at Ludlow.
6 ROCKLIM – Won his first race in February of this year when staying on well at the finish at Musselburgh. Has struggled a bit since however, unseating his rider, finishing a never nearer 4th and falling in his three starts after. Can’t rule out a revival though and could go well if completing.
7 TUSCAN GOLD – Finian O’Toole takes off a useful 5lb for the veteran of the field. All his four career wins have come on the flat and all weather however, and his hurdle record makes for grim reading. Yet to get his head in front over timber and not much suggests he’ll do that today.
8 BRIAN BORANHA – Has some fair place form to his name which brings him into contention, but his only run at Wetherby produced a disappointing 11th of 12. The step up to 3 miles should suit though and could go well off a low weight.
Lough Salt 2/1, Rowdy Rocher 9/2, Brian Boranha 11/2, Tuscan Gold 6/1, Presence Felt 13/2, Rocklim 8/1, Native Optimist 14/1, Alpha Victor 20/1