Ten horse go to post for this competitive handicap hurdle here for today’s feature race worth £12,021 for the first past the post. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Gevrey Chambertin has a good chance in an open race if rediscovering the best of his earlier hurdling form. He should run well with his yard in good form but this could be best left to the unexposed runner JENNYS DAY. She has done nothing but improve upped in grade and trip and can go close here if continuing her progression here. Milborough could go close on best form and will find this trip right up his street. He can chase them home.
1 Call The Cops – Won the culminating race of this series at Cheltenham last year and only five runs since. Left Nicky Henderson now and refused on chase debut last month. Hard to fancy at the moment reverting back to hurdles.
2 Gevrey Chambertin – Won a class 3 hurdle in facile style at Carlisle over this trip two starts ago when winning from the front and pulled up on final start in a Grade 2 at Auteuil. Has excuses for that run and on best hurdling form can go close here with conditions to suit and yard in good form.
3 Shades Of Midnight – Bagged a couple of competitive handicaps on heavy at Kelso and Ayr from 2m4f-2m6f. Struggled upped in grade the last twice including when well held by the smart Unowhatimeanharry in a Grade 2 at Newbury on last start and needs to bounce back from that. Should find this easier and can go close on best form but never won over this far and has to prove stamina against a couple here.
4 Knockara Beau – Old-timer now and off for 253 days since a disappointing sixth of 7 at Kelso on his last start. Ran well fresh on return this year at Cheltenham in January and on best form here (has won twice) could enter calculations but could be vulnerable to younger legs and hasn’t won in almost three years so risky.
5 One For Harry – Has won here twice before and last win came at Wetherby (Heavy) over 2m3f in January. Pulled up in the Coral Cup at this year’s festival and only sixth of 7 on last start at Perth. Never won over this far and well beaten in this race in 2014. Off for 234 days and best watched for now.
6 Milborough – Hasn’t won a race since landing the class 2 Betfred Eider Chase at Newcastle last February and fair fourth on first start this term at Carlisle (Good/Soft) over 3m2f. Didn’t take to the National fences last time out and kept to same trip today. Reverts back to hurdles today and should have no problem with the conditions. Out-and-out stayer on his day and solid each way claims despite not running over hurdles in three years.
7 Sevenballs Of Fire – Won a class 4 hurdle at Ayr (Heavy) in March in good style by three-and-half lengths from the well-backed Wild West Wind. Looked like he would follow up when falling over C&D and hasn’t taken to chasing since. Reverts back to hurdles today and on best form has a big say if over his fall at Newcastle over fences on last start.
8 Island Heights – Goes well fresh as judged by back-to-back wins last term at Ayr (Good/Soft) and Haydock (Heavy) up to 2m6f. On his last winning mark but needs to prove stamina for this trip against some good stayers and can be ruled out today unless market speaks in his favour.
9 Very First Time – Has shown steady improvement so far with decent runs in four bumpers before landing a ten-runner event at Newcastle (Heavy) over 2m. Has to prove stamina at this trip but stayed on strongly that day and having shown good improvement without winning in handicaps recently has a squeak if the three miles doesn’t stretch him too much – pedigree suggests he will and not without a chance.
10 Jennys Day – Won at Listowel (Heavy) over 2m on second start in May. Runner-up in a novice hurdle at Hereford and upped to handicap company filled that spot again upped to 3m on latest start at Kempton (Soft) 20 days ago. Looks open to further progress and will surely go close here if running to that level again. Big player.