I haven’t ridden her before but she was a good horse on the Flat, rated 94 at her peak, and that gives you some hope she could be competitive off a mark of 120 here over hurdles. She is clearly lightly-raced in this sphere, and followed up an impressive debut success with a couple of runner-up spots. I know the betting suggested she should have been scoring there, but she was giving the winner 8lb at Southwell earlier in the month. Her mark looks fair to me, and hopefully the new tongue-tie and cheekpieces will also help her, but it is clearly a very competitive race.
From a selfish point of view, it was good to see Hitman not declared – and, indeed, only four line up – as I think that gives us a favourite’s chance now. I know that he would appear to have an inconsistent profile and his tendency to make a bad mistake is never far away, but he has a superb record away from the Grade 1 contests, and track, trip and ground are ideal for him here. He has to bounce back to form, as well as carrying a 6lb penalty for his Kempton win in January, but he was only beaten a neck by Frodon in this race last season and he must have a good chance.
He is an 8yo with very few miles on the clock, so we have obviously not had a smooth run with him, and we haven’t seen him since he finished second at Hexham last June. But he goes well when fresh and he will love the ground, and he has been competitive off this mark, so fingers crossed for a prominent showing. He seems in good order at home.