IN SUMMARY: It looks as if THEATRICAL STYLE (7/2) will prove hard to beat here as long as he gets home over the extra distance today. He looked as if he will appreciate it and even improve for it and is the one we want to be on today, with Lowcarr Motion the each way alternative.
1 PETROU – Still learning but has been a bit disappointing of late and could struggle to carry joint top weight here. Trainer Ben Case has had a string of recent places but no winners and the handicapper has relented a couple of pounds this afternoon, but a first three spot may be the very best they can hope for here.
2 CHRISTMAS TWENTY – Continues to run well without success but has yet to win a race in seven races under rules plus three in point to points. He was pulled up at Fakenham on his only attempt beyond two miles over hurdles but stamina should not be the issue and he seems to have more than enough weight for a maiden.
3 THEATRICAL STYLE – The only horse declared with a win to her name last time out, Donald McCain’s seven-year-old had already won a couple of bumpers earlier in her career but got off the mark over hurdles at Bangor with a staying on six length success that suggested she would be even better stepped up in trip today. Put up seven pounds which seems about right, she looks the one to beat here.
4 PENNYWELL – as a winning point to pointer over three miles the step up in trip could suit and bring improvement after a pair of second places at Market Rasen and Exeter. His official rating of 105 looks a pound less than we expected and trainer Warren Greatrex is in among the winners – could be a danger to the likely favourite.
5 MR SNOOZY – Will arrive here race fit after a forgettable run on the flat at Southwell when pulled up but has bits and pieces of form that would give him place chances. Looks poorly handicapped on his second to Drumlee Lad at Doncaster and ought to struggle here.
6 KARISMA KING – Seems to try his level best for connections and was a perfectly reasonable fourth to Imperial Prince at Newcastle last time out, only beaten eight lengths at the line. Two pounds lower today he could surprise a few if they have taught him to jump at home as it seems to be his poor hurdling that lets him down more than anything else.
7 LOWCARR MOTION – Trainer Micky Hammond has been having a good season and the son of Rainbow High caught the eye when a fast finishing third at Catterick after being left with far too much to do, but is still a maiden after twelve races and that seems unlikely to change today.
8 ALCHIMIX – Presumably the Mick Hammond second string and has failed to offer too much encouragement with a thirty length last of five at Catterick last time out. Jockey Billy Garrity takes off a very useful ten pounds which ought to make the six-year-old more competitive but that still may not be enough.
9 HEURTEVENT – Has been running and placing on the all-weather on the flat and won a handicap chase at Towcester last May but hasn’t won over hurdles since December 2012 in his native France and seems to be one to watch rather than support here.
10 EXPANDING UNIVERSE – Runs from out of the handicap by five pounds which negates the claim of jockey Jamie Bargary and surely reduces his chances. Yet to win over hurdles after thirteen attempts, a record that seems likely to be extended today.
myracing Forecast Prices: 3/1 Theatrical Style, 5/1 Pennywell Lowcarr Motion Christmas Twenty, 8/1 Petrou Mr Snoozy, 12/1 Karisma King Heurtevent, 25/1 Alchimix, 50/1 Expanding Universe