Six chasers go to post for this handicap at Fontwell on Tuesday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Leg Lock Luke was a good second on his latest start at Taunton behind a rapidly improving sort and has to be respected as he looks to gain his first win over fences, but he is too short for a horse 0/8 under rules so this can go to BREDON HILL LAD. He has a win and a third to his credit in two runs over hurdles at this track, staying on dourly up the hill both times. He lacks a little consistency but at the prices is far better value than taking close to evens about a maiden who has proved an enigma for connections thus far.
1 JOHNS LUCK – NR
2 BALLYCOE – Ran with credit the last twice in higher graded races, finishing fourth at Aintree in December (2m 3f, Good) before struggling on his latest start at Sandown (2m 4f, Soft). Goes down a class which should help and has the services of Ciaran Gethings today who will take off 5lb thanks to his claim but he still may remain vulnerable off this mark which is still 10lb above his last winning mark. Likely to run his race but may just need further help from the handicapper.
3 QUINTO – Form over hurdles was very patchy but made a good start over fences when second at Exeter a few weeks ago (3m, Soft), though beaten nine lengths on that occasion. A mark of 104 if judged on his hurdling form should be achievable and he gets conditions he wants today under Harry Cobden. Remains with scope for progress over fences and has to be respected, though there is no doubt he will need to improve if he’s to feature today and may just be resigned to second if good enough.
4 BRENDON HILL LAD – Another far from consistent sort but he was a good second at Warwick on his penultimate start in December (2m 4f, Soft), though was tailed off at Chepstow when last seen (2m 3f, Soft) off a pound lower mark. Today’s trip is fine, as are the softer conditions and a below par run at Chepstow is always excusable given the unique nature of the track. Lucy Gardner claims 3lb which is a help and he will be staying on when others have had enough.
5 LEG LOCK LUKE – Made a patchy start over fences but has gotten his act together the last twice, finishing a good second at Exeter (2m 3f, Soft) before emptying up the run in at Taunton ten days later to again finish second, though it was behind a horse who was completing a four timer (2m 5f, Good). Likely to be allowed a soft lead once with Tom O’Brien taking the ride and remains on the same mark as that second last time out. Interesting candidate and there is likely more to come from this £100,000 purchase, so has to be respected as a main player in this for Colin Tizzard.
6 GORING ONE – Has only raced four times since January 2015 which is an immediate concern and he has failed to impress on two runs this season, with his latest fifth at Towcester not particularly inspiring (2m 5f, Good to Soft). Needs more if he’s to feature today and at the age of twelve he looks vulnerable again, so is best left alone for Anna Newton-Smith and Paddy Brennan.