We have a 2m 4f Novice Hurdle at Sedgefield with a very inexperienced field.
Dargiannini put in a very impressive performance first time out in a bumper on this course in October, winning by 20 lengths. He disappointed on his debut over hurdles at Aintree in December when coming 2nd on very unfavourable, heavy ground. He didn't enjoy the ground and his early keenness led to him not staying the trip, although still hanging onto second beating the 3rd by 10 lengths. He was keen that day as the pace was extremely slow. He hurdled okay but I expect that Gavin Sheehan has schooled him since and he'll come on for the run. Now that he's back on favourable ground, I expect a performance similar to his course debut.
Erne River could be a danger for Dargiannini, he was 3rd of 7 in his only run in a Novice Hurdle at Kelso in November 2020. The form hasn't held up with the 1st and 2nd both coming 6th on their next run.
Malpas is another market rival who has finished 3rd on his last start in a Novice Hurdle at Kelso in February this year, although well held and beaten 18 lengths. He was keen that day and if he settled better, he may have gotten closer. He should be respected.
Looking at the form of the field, Dargiannini should have the beating here. At the time of writing, we do not have prices out, but I expect this horse to be a clear favourite.
written by Charlie Sharp