Only the two winning favourites in the last decade and winners at all prices up to 40/1 suggest this isn’t easy to win though Paul Nicholls has won it twice in that time and had a few in here with Black Corton the highest rated according to the official handicappers. Unfortunately, our tip for the race was declared a Non Runner at 3pm.
Alan King will put Wayne Hutchinson up on top weight Who Dares Wins (9/1 Each Way) as he looks for win number three over hurdles on only his sixth start. He may have been outpaced in the Triumph hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival but ran a really promising race over further on his return when a length and three quarters fourth to Ballyoptic at Chepstow and stepped up in trip again he could be pretty interesting racing off just a pound higher now. He’s rated 94 on the Flat, showing he has an engine, and as a four year old still has plenty of room for improvement.
If we follow the betting then Philip Hobbs’ For Good Measure (8/1) is the one to be on for owner J P McManus with the excellent Barry Geraghty in the saddle. He has had the benefit of a race recently with a short head second to stable companion Golden Doyen over three miles here last month and if that has brought any improvement then even the added three pounds from the handicapper may not be enough to keep him out of the frame.
Traditional Dancer (20/1) is only a four-year-old but arrives in top form after winning his last two over hurdles over two miles five furlongs at Kelso (by eighteen lengths) and then over two miles one at Carlisle (by four lengths). Up another eight pounds for that, Shane Shortall rides him again and claims three pounds, and he is in such good from that the extra weight may not be enough to stop him here.
Harry Fry has yet another interesting runner here in Meme’s Horse (11/1) who has only had the two races over hurdles, winning the latest of them at newton Abbot when staying on over two and a quarter miles. Lightly raced and with plenty of room for improvement stepped up in trip he is a bit of a dark horse here and off a rating of 127 he could yet be a major player.
Whenever we see a horse who has won his last two races and is a course and distance winner we sit up and take notice and Charlie Longsdon’s Midnight Shot (10/1) fits the bill having scored at Fontwell and then here in October and although put up an extra seven pounds for that, he has every right to expect to get involved in this more valuable contest.
To end with, Top Of The Town (10/1) has been well backed all week with Charles Byrnes sending him over from Ireland to compete for the prize money. We do note the stable are pretty quiet at present which is a concern but the money does seem to be down and the horse did win two in a row in August before a fourth here last time out here and is two pounds better off with For Good Measure for a length and a half and won’t be far away again today if repeating that form.