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Places available per race are subject to change, if fields reduce in size
Race 1 (1.45pm) BYZANTINE EMPIRE
Solid, if unspectacular performances in eight races, before picking up a maiden victory at Southwell (1m 7f, good to soft) in a Maiden Hurdle, back in May. That was followed by a step up in class and a second at Newton Abbot (2m, good to soft) a month later, before retuning to the winners circle at Southwell (1m 7f, good) last time out, when 2.25 lengths clear of Splinter. Has not been seen since July and makes first attempt since a wind op here. Stablemate to another leading challenger in Samba Dancer, with both of Fergal O’Brien’s runners in with strong claims.
Race 2 (2:20pm) CLOTH CAP
Five win in twenty starts and sealed a double towards the end of last season, with wins at Newbury (3m 1f, good) November and victory amongst Listed company at Kelso (2m 7f, good to soft), when an impressive 7.5 lengths clear of Aso.His quest for glory in the Grand National was ended, when pulled up three from home, but returns from a wind operation with renewed impetus here, with Jonjo O’Neill quietly confident in his runner here.
Race 3 (2:55pm) TRITONIC
Ran well at the turn of the year, when winning at Ascot (1m 7f, soft) and following up to seal a double at Kempton (2m, good) in the Grade 2 - Adonis Juvenile Hurdle in February, beating Casa Loupi by 10 lengths that day. SInce the he has placed fifth of eight in the Triumph Hurdle and looked a little flat in the last two contests overall. Return from a break should see a refresh of Alan King’s runner and he has every opportunity to take the spoils, with Stepney Causeway the main concern
Race 4 (3:30pm) SKY PIRATE
Showed superb form over the last quarter of the season, winning three times and placing in four starts, including here over 2m, back in December, when 3.75 lengths ahead of Ibleo and on his last start at the Cheltenham Festival, when winning the Grand Annual (1m 7f, good to soft), by a short-head to Entoucas. Comes on for the first run of the season, off 7lbs higher, but yard is in good form and he has to surely have more in his locker. Respected contender for this race.
Race 5 (4:05pm) HAVANA HERMANO
Stuart Edmunds runners has two career wins, but probably should have more, having placed five times, including the last three starts. He placed second at Bangor (3m good) back in August, when 3.25 lengths behind Flying Verse, before retuning from a six week break to place second once more at Uttoxeter (2m 7f, good to soft), when 11 lengths adrift of winner Copper Coin, despite going in as favourite. May not quite have enough to take the spoils here, but the consistency over the last half dozen runs, puts them firmly amongst the leading contenders.
Race 6 (4:40pm) DOES HE KNOW
Sealed a treble around this time last year, including two victories over 2m 5f at Cheltenham, including the Grade 2 - Hyde Novices Hurdle last November. He placed fifth of eight in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at the Festival on his last start of that season, but retuned in style, to take a Class 2 contest at Chepstow (2m 7f, good) a fortnight ago on chase debut, going clear to take a 5.5 length win. Solid claims under a penalty here and Kim Bailey’s entry can go close once again.
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