An interesting race for the grade with a few potential improvers bidding to take home the £4,549 prize money. Read on for our experts thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: A tricky race to assess with a few horses bringing good hurdling form to the table. Helium will be popular returning over the smaller obstacles and this consistent performer will no doubt run well off this mark. He may bump into a couple of potential improvers with younger legs however in G’Day Aussie and BACK TO BALLOO who are coming off the back of a win and good runner-up run respectively. The former won well at Sedgefield last time out and may well go in again under Brian Hughes but Peter Winks’ runner looks to have more scope for improvement and his last run was impressive. Stepover can chase them home.
1 Being Global – Won a Class 4 hurdle at Southwell (Good/Soft) in March over 1m7f and well beaten next two starts despite placing on both occasions. Finished ninth of 10 on comeback run last month at Huntingdon (Good/Soft) over the same trip upped in grade. Only a 1lb higher for his last win but carries top weight here and likely to find a few too good even if he comes on for the run.
2 Helium – Prolific at Worcester and Ludlow last Autumn in chases on Good/Soft ground and has only finished out of the top four twice in 11 runs since. Back on a very interesting hurdling mark here over the smaller obstacles and can bounce back despite pulling up at Exeter (Soft) 28 days ago. Claims.
3 Gin And Tonic – Decent hurdler up to 2m in this grade and scored his last win at Fakenham (Heavy) in March with Bonvilston Boy thirteen lengths in third. Struggled next two starts and didn’t inspire much confidence he would handle fences going forward when only sixth of 8 at Uttoxeter on his chasing debut in June. Off the track for six months and hard to fancy here.
4 Innoko – Dual-performer who scored at Chepstow (Soft) over 1m2f in May and has been fairly consistent since on the flat and at Uttoxeter since without winning. Only seventh behind Rocklander on last start at Leicester three weeks ago but is back on a workable mark for this and can get involved if putting his best foot forward.
5 Jade’s Legend – Showed some decent form in France before joining this yard. Didn’t fare too badly in a couple of chase and hurdle races at Fakenham (Good) and Southwell (Good/Soft) up to 2m5f but flopped badly at Ludlow on last start and the removal of a hood from her last race needs to have a positive effect here. Losing streak is very off-putting for win purposes.
6 Spa’s Dancer – Dual-performer who hasn’t won in three years and really needs to up his game to get involved here. Has a handy weight to work with but even on best form looks hard held in this.
7 Back To Balloo – Previously trained in Ireland by Colin McBratney and hasn’t won since landing a 2m1f off beginners chase off 11st12 at at Fairyhouse in 2014. Improved from his first run for this yard to finish second in a Class 4 handicap hurdle at Doncaster (Good) eight days ago. Has won over further than today’s trip and should be fine with the conditions. Big player.
8 Bonvilston Boy – Still a maiden after 8 runs, seven of them over hurdles including a third here over today’s trip on Heavy ground in March behind Gin And Tonic). Finished tailed-off at Exeter (Good/Firm) on last start over 2m2f. Drop in trip might help but a lot to prove right now.
9 Racing Spirit – Maiden after ten runs including seven on the level. Didn’t do too badly on first two hurdles starts but flopped last time out at Leicester (Good) three weeks ago and needs to defy a high enough mark now to take this today.
10 Stepover – Still a maiden after twelve runs including a career-best when runner-up to Mrs Burbidge in a mares race at Southwell in May. Has improved recently dropped back down to 1m7f and . Up 8lb on that Southwell run and up in trip here, needs to improve for this slower than ideal ground.
11 G’Day Aussie – Only fair flat form to his name but has shown good form in his last five starts over hurdles culminating in a four length victory in a Class 5 at Sedgefield (Good) in October. He has a handy weight for age allowance here and should be in the mix. Solid claims with Brian Hughes on board.
12 Polarbrook – Won off this mark last year at South well (Soft) over 2m4f but has been in woeful form since last December and will no doubt struggle again.