With no stats we can use in our favour to start things off we will get straight down to business with the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Splash Of Ginge (11/2) here with the excellent Ryan Hatch taking three pounds off his back and as his trainer has also won it twice, he belongs in our race preview and near the top as well. What he does have in his favour is race fitness after a seven and three quarter length fourth of eight at Chepstow last month which will have put him straight and kindly dropped another three pounds he also looks pretty well weighted having won off eight pounds higher in January 2015.
Paul Nicholls had only ever entered one horse for a change and Orbasa (4/1) could be a lot more interesting this season. Although he won at Fontwell over fences on his British debut he never really looked quite right last year despite some acceptable places and we suspect he is a good deal better than we have seen so far in which case a rating of 135 this afternoon could well seem extremely generous by the end of the season and we think he can win for the stable this afternoon for starters.
Down at the bottom of the weights we have the Dianne Sayer trained Baileys Concerto (12/1) who deserves a mention as the only course and distance winner in the field. Admittedly that was back in October 2014 and he hasn’t win a race anywhere since November of that year but amazingly he is still a pound higher in the weights now despite a run of nineteen losses in a row. Last time out he finished an acceptable fourth of ten here over three miles when looking one paced near the finish but he does like it here and cannot be easily dismissed.
At the very top of the weights we have the once top class Mr Mole (20/1) who is running for trainer Ben Haslam having previously been in the care of Paul Nicholls. He has lost his way a bit in recent years and races here off a mark of 150 having peaked at 165, and if his new trainer, surroundings or regime can get him back to his best then there is little doubt that he is absolutely thrown in here though he has been off for ten months and may be best watched for now.
Paul Moloney looks likely to team up with On Tour (9/1) again this afternoon as the eight-year-old looks for his third win over fences on his fifth start. Decent enough over hurdles he won his first two races over fences but has disappointed in his last two with a thirty-five length ninth and a twenty length eight and he clearly needs to improve on that to take a hand but may be better fresh regardless.
Thomas Brown (11/2) seems all set to run here for the likeable Harry Fry and he is another expected to be even better over fences this season than last. A strapping sort he has some superb staying hurdling form, and although he has won over this trip over fences he has stayer written all over him and he may well find a few of these have a bit too much speed for him this afternoon.
Lastly, Neil King has the race fit Princeton Royale (10/1) in here and he could come close to pulling off a shock under the excellent Trevor Whelan. Last time out at Fakenham he finished a half length second to Keltus over three miles but history shows he is far happier at this sort of trip and with fitness on his side he is another runner in with a chance