Wild West Wind
I would have missed the ride on him here last month, as I was at Kempton, so let’s hope the abandonment works in my favour. I won a couple on him last season and it looks like he took another big step forward when winning over 3m on heavy ground here on his return for Ciaran [Gethings]. He was probably value for more than the winning distance there, having got a bit tired, but he stuck it out really well and he is 1lb well-in with his 4lb penalty. He would probably be three from three at this track had he not fallen at the last here in a novice hurdle a couple of years ago, and hopefully he can improve again for the step up in trip. He loves heavy ground, has a good profile for the race and deserves to be one of the favourites.
He hasn’t shown a lot in two starts over fences this season, including when I was on board and pulled him up at Lingfield a couple of months ago, so it probably makes sense to try and freshen him up back over hurdles. He has a pretty formidable record on this ground, with his only defeat in five on heavy coming in a Grade 2 novice hurdle at Cheltenham, and he is better than a 123-rated horse if we can get him back on track, especially on this ground. Warren’s horses are in good form too, so hopefully he can show a lot more today. I schooled him at home over hurdles recently and he seems happier, and hopefully first-time blinkers will help, too.
His recent record suggests that he tends to need a run or two to put him straight but he was a very progressive horse towards the end of last season, winning a couple and then finishing second to another improver at Leicester. This is his trip and his ground and, although he has gone up 2lb since that Leicester second, hopefully he can acquit himself well. It could be a tough ask for him first time out in these conditions, but he does come here in good order.
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