Grandfather Tom looks set to complete the four-timer for Cowell
Philip Hobbs has his team in much better form than earlier in the season and it looks the right time to support the quirky but talented Samburu Shujaa.
The five-year-old has tendencies to hang and jump to his left and has thrown away his last two contests with a mixture of those traits.
However, the return to a left-handed course should help him out and he might be able to finally put it all in, giving him a clear chance of getting off the mark at the sixth attempt.
The form of his Taunton and Exeter novice hurdle thirds read well in the contest of this maiden and he is much better than he showed last time when almost everything went wrong.
Stepped up to 2m4f, he was sent off the 11-8 second favourite of four in a good Wincanton maiden hurdle and was almost ridden on one rein for the whole contest as he was lugging left-handed. He still travelled like the best horse and was just hitting the front at the second-last when he veered markedly away to his left, causing Richard Johnson to lose his whip and surrender the lead.
Once he irons out his quirks he’ll win plenty of races and hopefully that will start here.
Despite there being just four runners for this 5f handicap on the Fibresand, it’s quite a competitive race and we should be treated to a rousing finish.
There are a few doubts about three of the runners and the most solid option is almost certainly Grandfather Tom, who seeks a four-timer having won over the minimum trip at Lingfield (twice) and Newcastle.
Robert Cowell’s three-year-old has improved at a rate of knots since finishing second on his reappearance at Wolverhampton in January.
Despite being keen throughout, he ran on well to beat decent yardstick Sir Hector at Lingfield by a comfortable three lengths before narrowly justify 2-5 favouritism in a race not run to suit over the same course and distance on his penultimate start.
Given a short break, he returned to the track when cosily fending off three in-form rivals at Newcastle 12 days ago.
He’s gone up just 4lb for that effort and this seems easier provided he acts on the surface.
Shyron looks ready to strike again for George Margarson.
He did just that when flying home to grab second over this course and distance off a 2lb lower mark two weeks ago.
Given plenty to do that day by regular rider Jane Elliott, who partners him again, Shyron was brought very wide down the straight and picked up in the style of his old self.
His engine is clearly still firing on all cylinders and it’s rare to see a horse pick up so well from being stone-cold last with only a furlong and a half to go.
The winner that day, Spare Parts, reopposes again, but Shyron is favoured by the swing in the weights and should reverse the form.
Hopefully he’ll have a fast pace to aim at as that is when he’s seen at his best.
Eve Johnson Houghton does well with her runners at Kempton and New Rich, who has won five times over this course and distance, can enhance her record when going to post here.
A 6f specialist, New Rich often comes with a late burst in between horses to win his races – a tactic that is fraught with danger but holds high rewards – and consequently his draw in stall 12 shouldn’t be seen as a big negative.
Ed Greatrex knows him well and, although the eight-year-old can be a tricky ride in the early stages, Greatrex should be able to settle him well enough to give him a chance of going one better than when second at Wolverhampton last week.
He’s still well handicapped off a mark of 57 based on his back form and this contest does not look the strongest of its kind.
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