A step up in trip could be just what the doctor ordered for dual course winner ULIS DE VASSY and Laura Morgan's veteran could get back to winning ways at a course he excels at. Dartford Warbler was a beaten favourite when 10 lengths second last time and he is respected here off the same mark, which sees him race from a lowly 10st 7lb, while Fergal Mael Duin would be a big danger if putting in a clear round of jumping.
PETER THE MAYO MAN disappointed in a ''jumpers' bumper'' when last seen, but that outing can be forgiven. He was running a big race at Musselburgh when falling in a contest won by Barney Dwan the time before that and should be hard to beat if repeating his Doncaster triumph over Stowaway Magic in december. Robbing The Prey would be dangerous if rediscovering his Sedgefield form from the winter, but was disappointing last time, while Western Miller should also be respected.
Jonjo O'Neill's runners having been in fine form of late and his Capard King could be capable of building on his third at Warwick last time, while course and distance winner Steps And Stairs has solid claims from the foot of the handicap. The Fresh Prince has been disappointing over fences, but this outing follows wind surgery and any market support should be noted. However, preference is for track and trip specialist RIDDLESTOWN, who will still be finding when many have cried enough and has dropped to 1lb below his last winning mark.
The prolific course and distance winner GALWAY JACK arrives here unbeaten in his last three races and the form of his latest Warwick triumph has been franked by the second Barrakilla running with credit in the Aintree Foxhunters last week. Shimla Dawn has been in fine form in the pointing field and should provide stiff opposition, while Shotavodka and Argot are solid performers in this sphere who must be respected.
Conor Dore should see his pair Stuccodor and Hurricane Rita run well once again and both are entitled to respect, while Micky Hammond can do little wrong at the minute and his Dakota Grey could follow up his Carlisle win off the same mark with talented conditional James Bowen keeping the ride. However, a chance is taken on GRECIAN KING, who showed plenty of potential when third at Musselburgh on his latest hurdles start and must be considered from just 2lb higher having had a couple of subsequent spins on the Flat to keep him ticking over.
BENTONS LAD was only beaten three lengths when fourth last time and Mark Walford's gelding could easily build on that showing from just 1lb higher. Cosmic King is an interesting proposition on his first outing for Fergal O'Bren while others to note are Western Morning and Neil King's Mamoo, who disappointed on heavy ground when favourite last time but could be capable of more now.
It will be interesting to see if any significant money comes for Manon, who was just three and three-quarter lengths adrift of the highly talented Good Boy Bobby last time at Wetherby and should go close here if repeating that effort. However, INDEFATIGABLE was just three-and-a-half lengths behind Champion Bumper winner Relegate on her sole outing in Ireland and she could be hard to beat if arriving in the same vein on her first start for Paul Webber. Carrolls Milan, second in a point last time, is another who must be respected.
ULIS DE VASSY is comfortably the most solid proposition in this field, 2 from 2 at Southwell this season and arriving on the back of an excellent effort 3 days ago, so he could be the one to beat if the race doesn't come too soon. Fergal Mael Duin is a danger from a handicapping perspective and The Dawn Man is worth another chance to show what he can do as a chaser.
PETER THE MAYO MAN was disappointing in a bumper last time but is the clear pick on chasing form and can get back on track here. Western Miller is preferred to Robbing The Prey for the forecast spot.
CAPTAIN MOWBRAY remains with just one win to his name over fences, but it’s hard to fault his consistency and he’s taken to land the spoils. Capard King isn’t one for maximum faith but is doing nothing wrong at present, while Riddlestown shouldn’t be discounted from a sliding mark.
SHIMLA DAWN had some class about him earlier in his career and was ultra-impressive when readily clearing away from the front in a point recently, so a chance is taken on him to get the better of the consistent Galway Jack, with Shoavodka regarded as a definite threat if he can put a laboured performance in the Cheltenham Foxhunter behind him.
DAKOTA GREY goes unpenalised for his recent Carlisle success and holds strong form claims, particularly as James Bowen couldn't use his 3 lb claim there but can here. Oskar Denarius had an excuse (finished lame) when disappointing on his first outing for Ben Pauling and could bounce straight back, while Hear The Chimes can also figure if reproducing his latest Market Rasen third.
Decidedly trappy stuff with the narrow vote in favour of handicap-debutant BUCKBY BOY. He wasn't seen to best effect on his qualifying run over hurdles late last year and this longer trip very much promises to suit. Cosmic King could well step up for Fergal O'Brien however, whilst Western Morning and Bardista aren't dismissed lightly either.
INDEFATIGABLE was a promising third to the subsequent Champion Bumper-winner Relegate on her debut at Punchestown in January and could be hard to beat if building on that now starting out for Paul Webber. Manon also made a bright start when second at Wetherby and can progress, while Lady Chartreuse looks the pick of the newcomers.