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GRAND SANCY was beaten by a nice sort in Itchy Feet last time out and the small field that day at Kempton raced at a farcical pace. That was a class 1 novice hurdle so this should be much easier. BRIGADE OF GUARDS ran in top company when seen last season in bumpers and, while none of the runners will particularly want fast ground, I think he might be more effective than some on this going
The Queens horse FORTH BRIDGE has won on Good to Firm while racing on the flat. He is 0 from 6 since chasing but was expected to be a fair sort so coming in here down to a mark of 124 and back in trip suggest he’s a major player. SKELLIG ROCKShas his first start for Robert Walford and while he’s never won under rules he was tried in some top company (albeit falling a long way short) and the change of scenery might see one of his better runs. CAPELAND ran well enough here last season under Bryony Frost although he might just find the ground quick enough. BUSTER THOMAS won here in April in good style so he’ll be popular although like CAPELAND he would ideally want some give underfoot
LITTERALE CI progressed nicely at the back end of last season and clearly gets on well with Miss O’Connor. She’s up to a mark of 138 now which is going to be hard to win off especially as she flopped round here last March. That said, her two underwhelming runs have come on heavy ground so you can forgive that last effort at the course. IF YOU SAY RUN looked last season to be very versatile when it comes to going but I do think she’s at her best on over ground. She didn’t quite progress as much as expected but she hacked up here and I think she’ll end up much higher than her current mark of 131. LITTLE MISS POET is up 11lbs for her win here in May. That was in first time headgear and that might not have the same effect second time round but the trip will be no problem. GRAGEELAGH GIRL had a very tough ask on her first step up to about this trip and this looks much easier if she does in fact stay
14:25 – JOCKEY CLUB OWNERSHIP SYNDICATE “RISING STARS” NOVICES’ CHASE (GRADE 2) (Class 1) (4yo+) 2m4f
BAGS GROOVE was a classy sort over hurdles and looked to be just as good when winning over fences the last day. He’s in with a huge chance and shouldn’t mind quicker ground. SECRET INVESTOR won easier than his winning margin would suggest in the Persian War Novices’ Hurdle and that was a Class 1 Grade 2 event. He was beaten here in March but looked a better horse after that and he’s started this season off really well following a Wind Op
Slightly surprised to see REDICEAN and IF THE CAP FITS running here when trainer comments would have suggested they would run next week in the Greatwood but here we are. It’s also surprising that WE HAVE A DREAM might line up given that he missed the Mastersons Hurdle last month because the ground was apparently too quick considering the going here would be quicker than that. All that said, those trio all have obvious cases to be made for them but VERDANA BLUE would be a worthy favourite based on her run last time at Kempton. She’s better than her mark of 146 on that performance and I would suggest the quicker the ground the better for her. I can see this field cutting up if no rain arrives but REDICEAN, IF THE CAP FITS & WE HAVE A DREAM should handle conditions as they all have some form on good ground. If they do all line up it’s a wide open and very interesting race
A good sized field for the final leg but with 16 runners and quick ground we’re likely to be playing for 3 places in a very open looking affair. Paul Nichols would be having a great day if my earlier suggestions were right and EL BANDIT looks a serious animal. The lengthy layoff is a concern but runner here off a mark of 139 suggested to me he should have a fair bit in hand. He’s only made the one Chase appearance where he was an easy winner and I think he’s one to keep an eye on this season such is the class I think he possesses. Nichols also saddles PRESENT MAN but I think his mark needs to reduce further to be considered a winner of this race. BIGBADJOHN improved for his first time tongue tie last time out and that win also came of firm going so the ground here will suit. SAM RED might have been a fortunate winner last time at Cheltenham but he was always going to be dangerous of his lower mark and this 7yo should go well again now raised 4lbs.