Paddy Brennan: He makes his chasing debut off what looks a very fair mark.
He makes his debut for us having finished fifth in an Exeter bumper for David Loder in October. That came over 1m5f, so the step up to 2m3f on his hurdling debut will hopefully see him in a better light. He has pleased us since we have had him but this does look a pretty hot race and The Unit sets a high standard even with his 10lb penalty.
This will be the first time I have sat on him. He showed ability in bumpers and novice hurdles but he looks to have found life tough in handicap hurdles and chases, including on his fencing debut at Wincanton last time. But it wasn’t a bad run and he has been dropped 2lb, so hopefully there is improvement in him.
We pulled him out of Chepstow recently and he was due to run at Fakenham last weekend before that got called off. He is a horse who I have been fortunate to be on for all of his three wins, but we haven’t seen him for over two years now as he has been off with a leg injury. The handicapper hasn’t been that kind in his absence as he is still 4lb higher over fences than when winning at Uttoxeter on his penultimate start – normally they give them a bit more of a chance after such a lay-off – so we start him back over hurdles on a much more attractive mark. He is 11lb lower, in fact, off 113. He has also come back a bigger and stronger horse, and has been going well at home, so I’d be hopeful. Good ground would be fine for him.
Showed ability in bumpers but he obviously needs to step up on what he has shown over hurdles so far and, again, this looks a hot novice hurdle.
He is usually a very consistent 2m handicap chaser so I don’t know what went wrong when he was beaten a long way at Aintree last time. At least he has been dropped 1lb for it and if he returns to form then he is on a winnable mark. It’s good ground at the moment and that suits him well, but he is also very effective on soft too if the ground rides more testing.
I know this horse very well, and he probably put up his best performance when winning at Haydock last season. We haven’t seen him since he was third in the same race this season back in November but he goes well fresh, and makes his chasing debut off what looks a very fair mark here. Ideally, he wants it softer, though.
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