Ballybolley was considered good enough to line up against the likes of Nichols Canyon and Parlour Games in a novices hurdle at the Aintree festival last spring and was far from disgraced when placed fifth. He was then put away for the summer and made his seasonal return at Warwick a few weeks ago. He only managed to finish third in a four runner race, but that run will have cleared away any lingering cobwebs and much better can be expected this afternoon. Daryl Jacob keeps the ride on the son of Kayf Tara and despite giving weight away all around, the combination look destined to go well.
Artifice Sivola made a winning return to action at Fakenham last month. He has won three of his last five races and can improve again for a recent run. Sam Twiston-Davies takes the reins for the first time and Lucy Wadham’s five year has to rate as a live threat. Tornado In Milan is proven at this level and was placed in a higher grade at Aintree last time. The winner has gone in again subsequently and with Evan Williams in fine form, this nine year old cannot be fully discounted. Noche De Reyes and Kerryhead Storm are both previous course and distance winners but both are unproven in this grade.
Ballybolley represents top connections here and they will be hoping that he can get his career firmly back on track this afternoon. Nigel Twiston-Davies has been back amongst the winners of late and a big run is predicted.
Bally volley (E/W if 9/2+)
Risk A Fine has developed into a better chaser than he was a hurdler. He has picked up small races at Worcester and Market Rasen and comes here bidding for a hat-trick. Tom O’Brien has won on his last two rides for the Hobbs yard and this combination are likely to try and dominate from flag fall.
The Clock Leary was well supported at Cheltenham last time but badly blundered the first and was pulled up shortly afterwards. Venetia Williams is likely to have gotten plenty more work into him subsequently and much better can be expected here. Gallery Exhibition has been known to go well fresh in the past and Kim Bailey has made a good start to the season. Whilst he is proven at this trip, he has stamina in abundance and he will be staying in when on when others have cried enough. Gone Too Far was bitterly disappointing at Plumpton last time and Road To Freedom might be better over an extra half mile.
Philip Hobbs has his yard in excellent shape and these colours were carried to success at Haydock on Saturday when Rock The Kasbah obliged in fine style. His horses seem to be fit enough to do themselves justice at the first time of asking this season so this layoff is not as off putting as with some. He has to have a big say in the final outcome here.
Risk A Fine (WIN)
Presenting Arms makes his seasonal return for Harry Fry and this afternoon. He has a decent record when coming back from a break and the fact that he is unbeaten at Kempton in two starts means he has to be high on any shortlist. Liam McKenna is an up and coming amateur who utilised every ounce of his eight pound claim to win at Cheltenham just last weekend on board Unowhatimeanharry and they command utmost respect.
Paddys Runner comes here on the back of an outing on the flat a few weeks ago. He has a progressive profile over hurdles and has as yet to finish outside of the placing so in three previous starts. This is the softest ground that he will have encountered to date but if handling conditions, he is likely to prove the biggest threat. Polstar has been kept busy of late and returned to winning ways at Wincanton last time. Harry Whittington has his stable in excellent form and despite a rise in grade here, they too have live each way claims.
Presenting Arms may be an eight year old now but he still has relatively low mileage on the clock. With the yard enjoying somewhat of a purple patch at present all of their runners command a second look and he looks sure to go well.
Presenting Arms (E/W if 9/2+)