TRUCKERS GLORY got off the mark in fine style less than three weeks ago and is tipped to repeat that victory stepped back up in trip. Silver Eagle was well backed last time out and is worth watching in the market following good support last time out, while Vinegar Hill looks to make it a hatrick after a lengthy summer break.
1 SO FINE – Richard Johnson is an eye catching booking on this 10 year old who last won at Cheltenham over this trip on Soft, showing he has stamina in abundance. He has to bounce back from three poor Chasing performances but was 3rd on his last hurdling start in January and Philip Hobbs’ horses are in fine form. Potentially a good Each Way bet.
2 SOME ARE LUCKY – A lightly raced 5 year old, purchased for 80,000 guineas following a 2nd place in his 3rd Point to Point. The winner that day is now rated 139 after just 4 races under Rules, while Tom George’s charge runs off 125 here. Second on his last two races, he looks short in the market up a further 3lb in the weights from his last run.
3 MAX FORTE – Another ex Point to Pointer, purchased for £30,000 after finishing 2nd in his debut (and only) point. Made a winner start but didn’t progress as expecting, finishing his season with a close 4th at Ascot in April off this mark. Should progress into a nice staying hurdler this season but may need the run.
4 FIRST FANDANGO – Makes his first appearance in over 450 days for trainer Tim Vaughan, having fallen in the weights following 5 hefty defeats last summer. Previously rated significantly higher but has won only once over Hurdles since November 2011 and not one to put too much faith in.
5 WIZARDS BRIDGE – Form reads inconsistently – Pulled Up three times, Fell, and was running 2nd in a voided race on his last 6 starts. They were all over the larger obstacles, and this is his first run over Hurdles since April 2015 – 11 starts ago. Despite a 10lb claimer on board, doesn’t look good value at short-ish odds.
6 TRUCKERS GLORY – Our tip for the race, he improved on each Point to Point before finishing 2nd in a decent field in December on his fifth run (unseated first two). Jumping was a little touch and go last time out at Ffos Las over 2m 4f but he still won comfortably and would have won by far further but for flattening the last. Handicapper has given him a 8lb rise in the weights but first time cheekpieces and the step up in trip are both in his favour.
7 VINEGAR HILL – Last seen when making it two wins on the bounce in May off marks of 95 and 97. Runs off 114 here, and while they were both comfortable wins they were in Class 5 company and over 2m 4f. Has won over 3 miles on Soft at Southwell but has a habit of putting in bad runs and this company is much tougher.
8 SILVER EAGLE – 6 month summer break following some average chasing runs over winter (that had been preceded by a 18 month break) saw him sent off joint favourite at Chepstow, but fell on the first circuit. Well backed that day and now returns to hurdling off a mark of 109 – 21lb lower than his last attempt (Ascot, March 2014). Worth watching in the market, but could be a confidence booster before going back chasing.
9 BE SEEING YOU – The outsider of the field, finished second in a Selling Hurdle at Worcester last month having been sent off favourite. Mark has been dropped 7lb since then but was well beaten off only slightly higher marks in Ireland last year when trained by Gordon Elliott and unlikely to win this.
10 DAVID JOHN – Lost his way following a decent debut in an NHF race at Exeter but turned that around and has now won twice over hurdles in his last 5 starts. Opposed Truckers Glory last time out and was strong in the market – went into the race off the back of a win at Uttoxeter – but weakened early and was pulled up before 3 out. Steps up in trip for the first time but is also up in class and will find this difficult.