For the final time this week Alan Thompson has a couple of long distance chasers to look at from Carlisle and Southwell...
"I wouldn't be surprised if there was more to come from Lucinda Russell's five-year-old."
Buddha Scheme can make it back-to-back wins over fences
It's hard to put your finger on exactly what changed for Buddha Scheme last time out at Hexham earlier this month, but something worked. Lucinda Russell's lightly raced five-year-old gelding was having his first run over fences, having been off the course for 149 days following a wind operation, had a first time visor fitted and was making his first attempt over three miles under rules. Whatever it was, it did the trick and he was still full of running at the end of three miles so today's additional trip shouldn't be a problem. I wouldn't be surprised if there was more to come and with Derek Fox retaining the ride, his only mount of the meeting, I wouldn't be surprised to see him go in again.
The selection beat Cairnshill last time out and I don't see any reason why that form would be reversed today. A bigger threat looks like coming from Donna's Delight running for local trainer Sandy Thomson. You have go a fair way back though to find the last win for the eight-year-old, it was a novice hurdle here back in October 2017. He was a beaten favourite in a handicap chase at this venue when last seen in February, and I think he may suffer the same fate again today at the hands of the Buddha.
Stop The World can get his head in front on his first attempt over fences
Tom George's Stop The World has been running well over hurdles and looks more than ready to step up to the larger obstacles. He's a consistent performer, finishing placed in five of his seven starts over hurdles but he is a half brother to the smart chaser Up For Review, so this has always looked like the preferred route. Today he makes his chasing bow off what looks a very workable mark and with ground conditions to suit, a big run looks to be on the cards.
Another likely improver in the field is Alan King's Notachance, he won on his last start as a hurdler in the spring and finished second here on his only other visit. My concern is the fact that he has been off the course for 216 days and the five-year-old may just need this run to get back to his very best.
2019 (prior to this week) : +2.95pts
This week so far...
Staked: 12 pts
Returned: 3.75 pts
2019 P&L -4.70pts
2018 P&L +82.29pts
2017 P&L +53.30pts
2016 P&L +15.23pts