An interesting race for today’s feature where the jumping of a few of these will be severely tested in what should be a strongly run race.
IN SUMMARY: Brian Hughes is riding out of his skin at present and will fancy his chances on Oscar Rock, who is on a handy mark back over hurdles and will surely run them close. The selection however is DUKE STREET who jumps well for a yard with an impressive strike rate here. If building on his Kempton second 12 days ago he will be tough to beat.
1 Oscar Rock – Smart chaser and won here on his re-appearance last Autumn winning easily by 3 ¼ lengths. Back over hurdles here and on a lower mark than his chase rating after a break since then and could primed for a big run with his trainer and jockey in flying form.
2 Sky Khan – Won this race by half a length to Ennistown (David Pipe) last year but has shown only middling form since. 5lb higher than the mark he was on when winning this last year and will need a career-best to win this again.
3 Duke Street – Was a decent sort on the level and won easily by 8 lengths at Newbury in April in a Handicap Hurdle on good ground. 2nd at Kempton 12 days ago and won’t need to improve much on that to figure here. Bold show likely.
4 Big Chief Benny – Showed good form in Novice Hurdles last term winning twice over 2m3f at Doncaster and then Cheltenham only just seeing out both races. Lightly-raced for his age and trainer’s horses have been improving for the run. Likely to find a couple too good on re-appearance.
5 Maxie T – Was a decent hurdler last term for his new stable only once finishing out of the top three. Handicap rating has gone up for that and will need a massive effort again to trouble these today.
6 Minstrels Gallery – Decent sort on the level winning a couple of races on the AW in the Spring. Won a Handicap Hurdle at Wetherby back in February comfortably beating Maxie T. 3lb higher than the win that day and will find this a tough assignment back after a break. Jockey riding well.
7 Eminent Poet – Easily won a couple of Handicap Hurdles at Taunton and then Towcester back in the Winter for a total margin of 23 lengths. Stable had a nice winner yesterday and may be coming in to form. Market will guide on chances.