Despite the current market suggesting otherwise I can’t see Sevarano reversing form with the course and distance winning Demachine. Trainer Oliver Sherwood isn’t having his best season either so I just couldn’t side with his eight year old regardless.
Both Full Back and Remastered are aiming to make it three victories in a row and are more than capable of doing so however I cannot be overly blown a way by Remastered’s success in a match race and I’m slightly put off by Full Back’s tendency to jump out to the left last time. Of the two it’d be Full Back who I’d side with however I’m actually going to opt for the outsider of the six runner field.
HURRICANE HARVEY has, on paper, the best form on offer with a Grade 2 success last time out. Hailing from a top yard it could be argued that this looks a tougher race but he’s done very little wrong and seems to have relished the bigger obstacles. At around 15/2 I’m happy to take him as an each way punt to finish in the first two.
HURRICANE HARVEY (E/W)
Usually a very competitive trial for the Stayers Hurdle and this year it seems no different.
Itchy Feet probably deserves to be the favourite but seems to be somewhat of a proverbial bridesmaid this term and I fear he’s likely to see the same sort of outcome this time around.
It’s crazy to think that the current staying hurdle champion is the sixth favourite but many feel Lisnagar Oscar’s success was somewhat of a fluke and sadly his 7th at Newbury last time points towards that theory as well. May improve in this weaker race, especially if his wind op has sparked improvement but place money looks the best he can hope for.
Ballyoptic seems much better over bigger obstacles, Third Wind looks a tad out of his depth and the same can certainly be said for Donna’s Diamond.
I’m finding it a real tough one between the horse with more question marks to answer but looks on the up in On The Blind Side or former course and distance winner EMITOM. I’d be shocked if Henderson’s runner was out of the first three but I think Warren Greatrex may have inadvertently pulled a master stroke by reverting his seven year old back to hurdling, especially at a venue he’s unbeaten. I’m hoping last years winner can strike again.
One of the most difficult races of the day to decipher and any horse who’s going to finish with their head in front here is going to need stamina on their side.
Favourite Jerrysback should relish a return to this trip and makes a sizeable case in this one but I cannot be overly enthused about a horse who, despite producing solid performances, has never won in any race higher than a Class 4. Capable but worth looking elsewhere.
Cobolobo and Yaltari renew their rivalry after going up against each other over course and distance last time out. I could put anyone off either and the same can be said for Venetia Williams other runner Cloudy Glen however it’s eight year old NEWTIDE that gets the nod. Third when last seen at Haydock in November he’s capable of winning first time out after a break and should relish these conditions. The yard are in fine form and if he comes on further for his wind op looks a solid each way punt.
Enqarde produced a solid effort to claim victory recently but this looks a tougher test. Notachance has dual entries so isn’t certain to lineup here. Is sure to play a part but with more weight on their back this time around Alan King’s charge needs to improve further.
Sojourn has been handled with kid gloves throughout his career and has made the frame more often than not. Of the market principles it’d be Anthony Honeyball’s runner I’d feel most confident in but when it comes to staying chasers it’s hard to ignore any runners that Venetia Williams sends out. ACHILLE may be in the twilight of his career but the eleven year old pushed Notachance very close last time and they meet again, this time with the weights in favour of the veteran. With less weight to carry, a lightly campaigned season and hailing from a yard renowned for scooping up these races it’s worth siding with Charlie Deutsch’s ride.
MALAYA finished second in this race last season and returns off a more attractive mark. She’s not shown her best this season but has given glimpses of hope that indicate going close here wouldn’t be out of the question entirely. You have to respect any runner that Nicholls sends out in races of this nature and she just looks far too big a price to turn down.
The lightly raced favourite Gladiateur Allen returns to the scene of his only success but needs to take a marked step up again now tackling this level of opposition.
There wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house if old boy L’Ami Serge came home in front but sadly it looks as if his best days are behind him.
Of the remainder both Stolen Silver and Kepagge could finish in the money.
The one and only race shown on ITV from Wincanton looks somewhat of a two horse race. Although that may seem unkind to Navajo Pass who’s seeking a hat-trick the two at the head of the betting have achieved far more to date.
Everyone would love to see Goshen make amends for his festival fall from last season but it seems to me that connections are a tad lost as to what to do with him. With two runs on the flat last season followed by a disappointing run at Cheltenham it’s hard to know whether or not he’ll ever truly reach his potential. Perhaps a tad cruel but he simply cannot be trusted.
SONG FOR SOMEONE on the other hand has done very little wrong of late with Tom Symnods charge having a clear breakout season. A win in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham was impressive and this looks a much weaker race. A short priced favourite for a reason and hard to oppose.
SONG FOR SOMEONE (WIN)
Winner of this race back in 2019 I hope CYRNAME can produce a repeat performance in what looks a poor renewal of this Grade 1 contest. If the nine year old has put his recent performance behind him then if he’s anywhere near his best he should steam roller his four rivals.
Stablemate Master Tommytucker deserves a shot at this level but his jumping errors should be enough to put pay to his chances now up against one of the best chasers of the past two years.
The unknown quantity is Dashel Drasher. He needs to be monitored closely as he seems to be going from strength to strength with each run this term. Has a lot to prove now at Grade 1 level but nothing’s to suggest he couldn’t be a serious horse but will have to pull out all the stops to beat the favourite.
written by Rory Paddock