Some high class hurdles have been entered here and none more so for a starting point than top weight Clyne (4/1) who will be looking for his fourth consecutive victory after victories at Ffos Las, Warwick and here over shorter on his seasonal return in mind November when he beat Verni by seven lengths staying on strongly. Naturally, these runs have not gone unnoticed by the dreaded handicappers and he has to carry an additional eight pounds this afternoon but he is going from strength to strength and may yet have enough improvement left to come to shrug off his new rating here.
Our good friend and partner Nigel Twiston-Davies has El Terremoto (7/1 Each Way) in here and he is another in-form option to add to any race preview after wins at Stratford and here at Haydock (over course and distance) in his last two starts. He did win a shade cleverly last time and had a lot more in the tank if needed but has only been put up six pounds which doesn’t seem too harsh and as he stays further and handles any going by the look of it, he has to has to be worthy of a bet and has a lot more to offer after just the three races since arriving here from his native France.
As mentioned earlier there are any number of in-form options and Super Sam (6/1) is next n the short list for trainer Venetia Williams and jockey Charlie Deutsch who is good value for the five pounds claim he can take off the back of the improving seven-year-old. Off for twenty-two months after finishing third at Taunton he has come back bigger and stronger and won at Hereford and then at Ffos Las, though they have seen him put up a total of fourteen pounds (or a full stone), and although he does like a battle he does seem to lack the class of some of his rivals and may find this a bit too much for him off his new rating.
Looking for something a bit more interesting and David Pipe may well run Great Tempo (7/1) here for only his second run since arriving from France. First rim out he took in a maiden hurdle at Hereford which he won by a silly eighty-two lengths barely breaking sweat, though it wasn’t much of a race hence his handicap mark of 128 which may yet prove to be remarkably generous and leaves him off a very low weight this afternoon.
Philip Hobbs looks like he might have a quiet Saturday by his standards unless Draytonian (10/1) returns to his very best after a one paced return at Ascot over two miles. Sure to strip a bit fitter after his first run in over seven months, he has won at Wetherby and Warwick so far from six starts over hurdles, but has always been held in some regard at home and is said to be a lot better than that and may well surprise a few of the better fancied runners here with even nominal improvement.
Lastly, Nick Williams isn’t in among the winners as much as some represented here but he has Le Rocher (8/1) entered here and he has to be of some interest. Already the winner of four of his seven starts he needed it when fourth at Ascot on his return after close to three years off and it will be interesting to see how soon his connections’ patience and investment is rewarded once again.