16:30 Newcastle Sat 24 February 2018
Physically has always looked to be a chaser, but is also a five time winner over hurdles and his overall career statistics make for pleasant viewing (8 from 23). Ran a blinder at Wetherby latest (second), and will relish the underfoot conditions.
Strong front runner who can often pay the price for adopting those forcing tactics. Sits on a mark 6lb higher than he won off at Uttoxeter in April (2m4f soft), and ventures North having been absent since early December.
Mud-lark who was very much in contention on his penultimate at Kelso (2m5f+) when falling three out. Couldn't make amends next time at Wetherby, but ridden with slightly more restraint, could profit from a 3lb drop in the weights.
A horse with ability, but one who has probably been held back by the handicapper for his gains as a novice. Should be sharper for his January spin at Sedgefield (2m3f+ soft), and has dropped a further 2lb since.
A fair performer when he has everything in his favour. However, the worry today is his ability to handle the testing conditions with his last two victories coming on good (2m4f) and good to soft ground (2m3f+). Not at his best lately.
Reverted to hurdling in early January when seeking a four-timer (disappointing). Alternates between Ayr and Newcastle, and has a strong record at both tracks (2,1,1 here), but is 5lb higher than when winning in early December.
Very well handicapped on his hurdles form from 2015 (3 from 7), with testing conditions holding no fears whatsoever. Often set plenty to do by his rider, and that has been the case here the past twice (3m). Chance if ridden more positively.
Had an off day over 3m here in December, but was back in the winners enclosure at Kelso last month (2m5f+ heavy) when downing the progressive Very First Time. Mark untouched, and this might simply be more his trip.
Last Year's Winner
|T: N W AlexanderJ: B S Hughes|
Acdc (2/1), Takingrisks (4/1), Clan Legend (11/2), Central Flame (7/1), Wolf Sword (8/1), Plus Jamais (12/1), Greybougg (12/1), Viens Chercher (14/1)
- Clan Legend
- Central Flame
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