This content originally appeared in the Racing & Football Outlook, which is available weekly in all newsagents every Tuesday.
KNIGHT IN DUBAI made a promising return to action at Aintree last month and can get back to winning ways here. He spent 606 days on the sidelines after unseating early at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.
But a recent spin at Aintree should have blown away the cobwebs and he looks well treated on the form he showed before his absence, notably a win at Bangor in November 2019 where his rival trailed home at huge intervals.
THYME HILL‘s narrow defeat in the Long Walk twelve months ago was one of the most dramatic races of the 2020/21 season and he can gain redemption in this renewal. He looked sure to win when going clear on the run-in but Paisley Park finished strongly to get up in the dying strides.
A late setback forced him to miss Cheltenham but a win at Aintree in April confirmed he was one of the best staying hurdlers in training and he is easily forgiven a lacklustre comeback, as that was at Auteuil over unfamiliar obstacles and on desperately testing ground.
Evan Williams won last Saturday’s big handicap chase and has a big chance this weekend with ANNSAM. The six-year-old won just one of his four chases last season but that Ludlow success last December was a tremendous performance, as he cantered clear of Fidelio Vallis who won his next four races.
This season has seen defeats in two hurdles but he looked to be coming to the boil when third over 2m4f at Newbury last month. The return to fences will suit and he is unexposed at this trip.
The £105,000 on offer in this race has attracted a competitive entry with SAMARRIVE the pick. Paul Nicholls’ gelding let down favourite backers at Cheltenham in October but he looked useful on his British debut at Kempton last April and confirmed that impression in a Sandown handicap recently, where he moved into the lead with two to jump and won easily.
The lightly raced four-year-old is 11lb higher but still has the potential to go beyond this level in time.
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