Paisley Park is the star staying hurdler at present and should add to his Grade 1 haul in the Long Walk at Haydock. Elsewhere on the card, Kidisart can land the Silver Cup for the Simon Munir team. The ITV team are also bringing us two races from Haydock where Chti Balko can continue his good record at the course by winning the Heed Your Hunch hurdle.
Plymouth Gin Handicap Chase
The French-bred Espoir De Guye got his head in front at Exeter when upped in trip and there could be a lot more to come from this improving five-year-old.
First Flow was a Grade 2 winner over hurdles as a novice and got his head in front at the third time of asking at Hereford. He should run well again ut hold reservation about him staying this far.
Evan Williams runs Golden Whisky who jumped right throughout when winning at Ffos Las. He’s a nice type but I think he’ll struggle in this company.
My Way has yet to get his head in front after fourteen attempts. He unduly got a five-pound hike for falling at the last when holding every chance at Plumpton. He followed this up when finishing fourth at Sandown and should go close.
Selection: Espoir De Guye
Long Walk Hurdle
The Worlds End looks much more at home over hurdles this season and started the current campaign with a grade 2 win at Wetherby. He followed this up with a game front-running display in the Long Distance Hurdle behind Paisley Park. He’ll be contesting these quality staying hurdles all season but may be venerable for win purposes.
The ever-popular Tobefair seems as a good as ever this season. He’s on a career-high mark which entitles him to line-up here but there could be more progressive types in the field.
In all truth, this looks a penalty kick for last season’s star stayer Paisley Park, who won well on seasonal debut at Newbury and I see no reason for him being turned over.
The interesting one in the field is L’Ami Serge who hasn’t been seen in a year and a half. He’s a four-time Grade 1 winner and shouldn’t be underestimated in this division.
Selection: Paisley Park
Silver Cup Handicap Chase
The talented but fragile Give Me A Copper got a well-deserved victory in the Silver Trophy at Wincanton. A six-pound hike seems fair and he could add to that victory.
Kidisart had a fruitful campaign last year and ended by winning a Grade 3 at the Aintree festival. He kicked off the season when finishing third behind leading Gold Cup fancy Lostintranslation at Carlisle and off a pound lower, he’s got leading claims.
Course and distance winner Mister Malarky represents the Colin Tizzard and Robbie Power team. He ran well in the “old” Henessy where he just ran out of steam and if that race hasn’t taken too much out of him then he’ll go close.
Selection: Kidisart – E/W
Exchange Trophy Hurdle
French Crusader finished runner-up in a listed contest at Newbury on seasonal debut and is only four-pounds higher for that run which should him a live chance here.
The lightly-raced Quoi De Neuf ran a cracker in the Greatwood last month and with only a four-pound rise he could go close again. Speaking of being lightly-raced there is none more so than Tamaroc Du Mathan from the Paul Nicholls yard. He won on debut in his native France and ran well on Brittish debut behind Master Debonair at Ascot and could be well handicapped off 135.
Nigel Twiston-Davies horses continue to run well and Sir Valentine has won on one occasion for his current yard and although 130 looks fair this is a hot looking contest.
Selection: Quoi De Neuf
Tommy Whittle Chase
Daklondike took this contest twelve months ago off a six-pound higher mark but that he was sporting a first-time visor and his form has taken a dive since. That being said this race will have been the plan for a while and he must enter calculations.
Lord Du Mesnil is a very consistent sort and finally made the breakthrough at Newcastle on his 24th start. This confidence-booster could turn him inside it but it needs to.
The popular The Hollow Ginge won on chasing debut at Worcester and although he hasn’t added to that tally in two subsequent starts, he ran well on both occasions. He comes into the race in good form and is unexposed so should run his race.
Heed Your Hunch Handicap Hurdle
Chti Balko returns to his favoured Haydock on the back of an impressive victory at Bangor last month. He was well handicapped going into that race after a stop-start campaign last season. He’s been placed off higher marks in the past and he’s the one to beat.
Fergal O’Brien has his string in great form at present and the former Challow Hurdle winner Poetic Rhythm showed some old sparkle behind Rocky’s Treasure at Wetherby. A return to hurdles could bring about further improvement and he’s one to watch.
Sue Smith has put a poor spell behind her and could have a well-handicapped individual with Captain Moirette who ran respectably in the Scottish Champion Hurdle last season and runs off a two-pound lower mark than when finishing third over hurdles on seasonal debut.
Selection: Chti Balko