Festival prospect can make another step on the road to Cheltenham
The 2m½f novice hurdle has attracted some decent prospects but Brian Ellison’s RAVENHILL ROAD (1.25) sets a clear standard.
The seven-year-old easily won both bumpers and retained his unbeaten record when switched to hurdles at Sedgefield in October, looking a cut above his 11 rivals as he sauntered to a 23-length victory. He has to concede 7lb or more all round here but it would be no surprise to see him go a long way beyond this grade in time.
NIGHTLINE (3.10) is now 0-6 over fences but he could finally make the breakthrough in the 3m novices’ handicap. Charlie Longsdon’s eight-year-old kicked off his campaign with a modest display at Huntingdon in October but ran well over this course and distance last time out, only losing out to Powerful Symbol by two lengths. Slow jumps at the two final obstacles arguably cost him and he can gain compensation with a more fluent round.
AMBERJAM (3.40) has been pulled up in three of his last four starts but a chase second to the progressive Frank N Fair in December showed that he was capable of figuring in this sort of company on a going day. He won his last start over hurdles and has a capable 7lb claimer in the saddle.
PADLEYOUROWNCANOE (2.45) was a modest Flat horse but he has done well over hurdles since joining Colin Tizzard.
The four-year-old was a creditable fourth behind the smart We Have A Dream on his first start for this yard and has landed two subsequent handicaps, most recently over this course and distance when he pulled eight lengths clear in the home straight.
He is improving fast and can defy a 12lb higher mark in this company.
His stablemate SANDY BEACH (2.10) has been off since a modest display at Sandown last February but he may be able to bounce back after a layoff in the 2m7f handicap chase.
A comeback win last November showed that he can go well fresh and the handicapper has given him a chance, dropping him 5lb since his last run.
UNIONISTE (3.20) is probably not as good as he once was (Grade 3 winner in 2012), but he drops down into hunter chase company here and can make the most of it for Paul Nicholls.
COISTE BODHAR (2.55) could only manage a four-length second at this track last week but that came against the progressive and heavily odds-on favourite Jack The Truth in a higher grade than he tackles here.
Scott Dixon’s seven-year-old had previously added a fourth course success when staying on strongly to deny Pearl Acclaim over 5f and he can get back to winning ways if reproducing that sort of effort in the 0-60 6f handicap.
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