A Class 3 middle distance handicap hurdle with a prize of £6,963. Read on for expert analysis and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: SIROP DE MENTHE hasn’t won for nearly a year but is four pounds lower than he was that day and any sort of return to that form would see him bang there in this company. Away For Slates is interesting on his first start for the Skelton’s after a massive lay-off as is prolific winner Hailings Comet.
1 HAILINGS COMET – Comes into the race in excellent form having won four of his last six starts and risen thirty-two pounds in the handicap in the meantime. Ran an excellent race last time in a competitive looking handicap at Cheltenham, this is easier and he should go well.
2 GABRIAL THE GREAT – One that is a better chaser than hurdler but races off thirteen pounds lower in this sphere as a result. Ran a good race when narrowly denied by a neck on his last start over timber and is only two pounds higher so should go well.
3 SIROP DE MENTHE – Has run thirty time over hurdles and won five of those starts as well as seven second place finishes. Hasn’t been in the best form as of late but his last win in November 2016 reads well and this is probably a tad easier than the races he has been contesting; interesting.
4 BOYHOOD – A lightly raced hurdler who has had just four starts in the sphere and has won once and filled the second spot twice. Last saw a racecourse 234 days ago so has fitness to prove but the balance of his form from last season entitles him to be seriously involved.
5 AWAY FOR SLATES – Dan Skelton is well-known for his ability to improve horses from other yards and if doing so again could have a good chance here. A lay-off of 609 days is a question mark but was last seen bolting up over a six pound lower mark and if ready for this should make his presence felt.
6 CHAMPAGNE GEORGE – Has raced just four times under rules and won half of those but comes here off a 592 day break. Neil Mulholland knows how to ready one and has booked champion jockey Richard Johnson which is interesting although the form of his wins in 2015/2016 is hard to measure.
7 MOLLY CAREW – Made little impact in two bumpers and on hurdle debut but seems to have turned a corner and comes here in search of a hat-trick. One of her victories came over this course and distance and she loves soft going, interesting.