16:30 Ayr Sat 22 April 2017
Largely consistent in middle distance hurdles for the best part of a year now, rising 32lb in the weights. That came to an end in the Coral Cup last time, though he was just about on terms after the second-last. It's been a long season for him and this may just be a step too far off top weight.
Veteran who has been in good form again this season, winning three times, including twice here on softer ground. Well held at Aintree last time out and it is a long time since he has been able to make an impact from this high in the handicap.
Has not won since the early part of last year, though very often competitive in these events. Crashed out early at Cheltenham last time and now has visor fitted. Cheek pieces have had no effect in two attempts before now, but would have frame claims if on song.
Last win was in a beginners' chase at Wincanton in December (2m4f, good to soft). Has been beaten in all three starts since then, including in handicap hurdles on last two of them. Has dropped 5lb recently, but looks in need of more than that here.
Handicap debut for this switch back to hurdles, after some good performances in defeat over fences this season. Has placed form in a Grade Two in this sphere and entitled to respect from this mark.
Sole hurdles win was in a maiden in 2013 and has spent plenty of time off the racecourse. No signs of immediate joy when pulled up on return run and a clear round looks top of his priority list at present.
Won at Wetherby earlier in the campaign from 2lb lower and well held in all three subsequent starts. Takes a leap of faith to see him winning this, but he is weighted to be more competitive again today.
Aside from beating only two home in the County Hurdle this gelding has enjoyed a good season. The signs have been there for his last three runs that the handicapper holds sway at present and his form may just be tailing off until he receives a further drop in the weights.
First season novice who has been well placed to win two and finish second in two more of her five starts. Thrashed her field by 16L at Ludlow last time and handicapper didn't think much to it, having raised her only 2lb. Nonetheless, no reason why she can't keep improving and looks interesting on her handicap debut.
Listed mares' bumper winner at Aintree a couple of years ago and has taken well to hurdling, winning two of her five and being placed in all the other three. Has had some issues with her jumping and handicapper has dropped her 3lb for her last win, which is unusual. First-time cheek pieces tried today.
Last Year's Winner
Whatduhavtoget (3/1), The Dutchman (11/2), Hollies Pearl (6/1), Kalondra (13/2), Gilt Shadow (8/1), Boite (17/2), Gibralfaro (10/1), Connetable (12/1), Desert Cry (12/1), Beer Goggles (16/1), Dominada (25/1), Call The Cops (50/1)
- The Dutchman
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