A select but quality field for this middle distanced listed handicap chase with a prize of £15,661. Read on for expert analysis and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: INDIAN STREAM won this with authority last year and he’d take some beating with a repeat performance, Sametegal is an intriguing candidate having won a Grade 3 handicap last time out and can pick up some prize money.
1 ROYAL VACATION – Was a very fortunate winner of the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day when left in the lead by Might Bite, backed that up by hacking up in a Cheltenham handicap but was pulled up twice following those wins and comes here off a break; must be respected.
2 INDIAN STREAM – Driven right out to win this race last year by two and a half lengths and followed that up with an excellent fourth in the probably strongest renewal of the Mares’ Hurdle we have seen at the Cheltenham Festival; commands respect based on those efforts.
3 SAMETEGAL – Absolutely bolted up in a Grade 3 handicap last time out having travelled through the race like a very classy horse, has been off for a mammoth 608 days but is only one pound higher today and Paul Nicholls knows how to get one ready.
4 ZAMDY MAN – Has won three of his last five starts stretching all the way back to April 2016, both of his defeats have come over this trip however and there is the definite suspicion that he is slightly better over two miles. Will love the ground however and should still be on the shortlist.
5 SPLASH OF GINGE – Hasn’t run over fences for a year but Nigel Twiston-Davies has his string in excellent nick and he has won off a mark of 145 before, he races of 138 here so is well treated if showing his best form; slightly risky though.
6 MARQUIS OF CARABAS – Has placed off this mark in his last two starts so the handicapper is not in complete control but will need to take a step up if he is to be winning this, should run his race and is solid but may find one too good on this occasion.
7 GUITAR PETE – Has a habit of finishing second which is what he has done in five of his six starts (including one on the flat at Ayr) since switching to Nicky Richards, his profile is bombproof but his ability to win off his current mark has to be questioned slightly; considered nonetheless.