A chance is taken on Umndeni to cause a surprise in this handicap hurdle at big odds. He was entitled to need the run when well held at Wincanton last month and could improve second-up here. He appreciates quick ground and is also back on a winning mark, which may offer him a place opportunity at a track which could suit. Bold Plan is another runner who can go well under suitable conditions for a notable trainer and jockey combination.
With two wins from four hurdle runs, COLONEL HARRY, rates a rock-solid frame prospect, dropping in class after a fine fourth in the G1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown on penultimate effort. He finished one place behind Nemean Lion that day, who is anticipated to start favourite here. Newcastle provided Colonel Harry with the ideal conditions to return to the winner’s enclosure last time, making all by eight lengths. A similar course awaits this afternoon, which should suit, offering the chance to go in again.
We bookmarked GANDHI MAKER, at the start of the season, as one who had bags of improvement to come over fences. He’s scored a couple of races, subsequently, and could still be a step ahead of the assessor, despite an 8lb hike in the weights. This may be his stiffest task to date but it’s unlikely we have reached the ceiling of his ability yet.
CASTLE ROBIN bounced back to winning ways at Sandown last time, with a comprehensive staying success over 3m2f at this standard. A rise of 4lb in the weights is justified, as he’s a relatively unexposed chaser after eight starts, and has scope for further success.
MASTER DANCER is the first of a pair of Richard Bandey-trained runners who catch the eye at the Berkshire venue. He’s a strong-travelling type, who ran an excellent third on handicap hurdle bow at Cheltenham, prior to pulling up at Kempton at their Christmas fixture – that disappointing effort is likely to have been down to the soft surface. He could be capable of bouncing back, with the potential to have more improvement to come.
SWEET WILL had been a thoroughly-progressive individual prior to unseating his rider at Navan last month. The six-year-old notched back-to-back wins earlier this term, including at Cheltenham in November. He still appears well treated from a handicap mark of 115, in what looks a good opportunity to get back on track.
PASS ME BY has been a strong market mover all morning. The Shirocco gelding certainly has the ability to win a contest of this nature, with two encouraging chase starts from three attempts. His sole success under rules came on good ground at a flat track, which augurs well this afternoon.
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