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Chepstow (Going; Good)
Persian War Novices Hurdle (2m3f100y)
Eight runners go to post for this Grade 2. Philip Hobbs has won this twice in the last ten years, most recently with Thyne Hill in 2019 and is two handed here. Comprond runs in the J P McManus colours and has plenty of experience winning two of his eight hurdle starts and placed in five others. It's interesting that he was campaigned through the summer albeit lightly as he had won on Soft ground in France. His two wins over hurdles have come on Good and when stepping into graded company at Haydock last May he was unable to concede 8lb to the winner and was 10l back in third on Soft. Hobbs' other runner is Luttrell Lad who won his only start over hurdles having been two from four in Bumpers. His hurdle win came last month at Worcester where he won a poor Maiden by a comfortable 5l. Like his stablemate he steps up in trip here and it's interesting that he's sent here off the back of just one run over the small obstacles. Couer Serin steps up in Grade having won his last three starts, all in handicaps last spring. He rose 23lb in the rankings for those wins and in the last won he beat Valtor who was receiving 10lb which was a career best. He wore first time cheek pieces that day and they're back on for this. Up For Parol won his point last November over 3m. The runner up was a subsequent winner who. was sold to current connections for £135,000. Having been well beaten on his first start over hurdles at an extended 2m3f he dropped back to 2m and won his next two and only starts. this is his first run since April 1st. The Skelton's send Hidden Heroics here for his first start under rules having purchased him for £60k after he won his only Point back in April. Tile Tapper won his Bumper at the second attempt but has failed to win in four subsequent starts over Hurdles. He has a couple of bits of form to suggest there is a decent prize in him. On his first he was beaten into second place just over 5l by the highly rated Metier who was conceding 5lb but was beaten 21l next time by the same horse off level weights in a Grade 1 at Sandown. Tile Tapper then finished third in Taunton novice with the well regarded Alaphilippe 4l in front of him but then disappointed over 2m4f at Sandown where he was struggling after the fourth hurdle. Paso Doble was bought out of Jim Bolger's for €125k having won twice on the flat. Paul Nicholls threw him in at the deep end for his hurdles debut and he was an eyecatcher staying on to be third behind the impressive Tritonic in the Grade 2 Adonis at Kempton having been held up in the rear. He went back there for his next and only other start and won comfortably. He's still only a 4yo. Another 4yo is the lightly raced First Street who was second in his two Bumpers and then won his two starts over hurdles. The first was back in August when he accounted for previous winner Zafar who also won next time out and Fairlawn Flyer who won two starts later. First Street then went to Warwick eighteen days ago where he was a very easy winner by over 8l. I've no strong preference for anything but race fitness might benefit First Street who is also proven over the trip.
Selection; First Street
Best Alternative; Coeur Serein
Champion Chase (2m4f0
Gowran Park (Going; Good)We're back for the new season with out annual opener at Gowran Park this Saturday. The Going could play a part in this and it was good to yielding before racing, today Friday and dried out in the wind to Good. There's about 4mm of rain forecast over night but wheteher the ground will have changed appreciably by post time remains to be seen. Last year's winner, Easy Game returns to defend his title and nice ground is what he requires. He's been well managed over the last year having had eight starts winning a Grade 2 win at Fairyhouse and winning at Listowel a fortnight ago. His Grade 2 win came at Fairyhouse came last April when a mistake at the last didn't help Castlegrace Paddy who finished three parts of a length behind Easy Game off level wights. On his penultimate start, Easy Game went down by 1l to stable companion Royal Rendezvous who was in receipt of 4lb and is actually 1lb better off than that run here. That was in the Galway Plate over an extended 2m6f on Good ground I think on Good ground over this trip Easy Game might just have the edge. Put The Kettle On makes her seasonal debut and Aidan Coleman travels over from England for the ride. Some would argue that she has become a bit of a Cheltenham specialist having won her four starts there but she also ran up a sequence around some sharp tracks in Ireland. She has won off long breaks previously but is up against race fit opponents. Castlegrace Paddy is approaching the veteran stage now but is relatively lightly raced having had just twenty three starts under rules. He's won six of those starts but all have been with Soft and or Heavy in the Going description. He does go well fresh. Hardline hasn't been seen since falling in this race last year and picking up an injury. On ratings he doesn't have much to find but is probably best watched after this long a break. Abbey Magic, stablemate of Put The Kettle On, looks outclassed in this company. If the ground doesn't get soft I think that over this trip Easy Game can shade it.
Selection; Easy Game
Best Alternative; Put The Kettle On