A good quality staying handicap hurdle for a prize of £9,384. Read on for expert analysis and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: NO HASSLE HOFF brings some high class handicap form to the table and can capitalise on a drop in class to get his head back in front. The ultra-consistent Wizard’s Sliabh and Harry Fry’s Secret Door can fill the places.
1 NO HASSLE HOFF – Ran in some very hot races last year, not last on his final start when sent off a well backed favourite for a Grade 3 handicap at Aintree. He finished a respectable fourth that day and a repeat in this lesser race would see him go close.
2 OSCARTEEA – Took advantage of a mark of 122 when absolutely hacking up at Market Rasen three starts ago. He struggled next time, however, as well as when well beaten on chase debut and remains 11lbs higher than his win. Others preferred.
3 WIZARD’S SLIABH – Has finished first or second in five of her six career starts and was only out of the frame in her first attempt in graded company behind the classy Snow Leopardess. Needs to improve again to win this, but her yard is going well and she may still be progressing.
4 CLOUDY TOO – Won nicely over hurdles in November last year, but that was off a mark of just 122 and he is rated 136 over these obstacles. On old form he would have a squeak even off this mark, yet he hasn’t showed the required form to win off this mark for a while.
5 CATCHING ON – Won two starts ago, but is up 9lbs for that success and has never gone in off a mark this high. Most of his best form has been shown with a little bit more give underfoot than he’ll get on this occasion and others are more likely on paper.
6 SECRET DOOR – Has hit the frame in all seven of her starts for Harry Fry, was only beaten slightly over a length last time and a 3lb rise in the handicap doesn’t seem insurmountable after that effort. No shock were she to go close again.
7 AENGUS – Won two in a row by wide margins in February this year but seemed in the handicapper’s grip when third in his hat-trick bid. Not impossibly handicapped, but seems likely he will find one too good and ground quicker than he has ever raced on.
8 SHINOOKI – Won in January, but was subsequently beaten a combined 84 lengths in his next two starts. He is more exposed than some of these and age isn’t exactly on his side. Can be overlooked despite having won over this course and distance before.