Cheltenham's Showcase meeting begins on Friday, and that is where we head for today's Placepot attempt.
"Evan Williams is in excellent form at the moment and Dark Spirit demands plenty of respect now returned to handicaps..."
14:10- Penglai Pavilion was very smart at best on the Flat, and has made a perfect start to life in this sphere with two facile victories in novice hurdles over the summer. He will face a different caliber of horse here today though, and with the trip an unknown, it is worth including a couple of others against him for Placepot purposes. The first is Exxaro, who remains open to improvement after doing well to win last time at Killarney, when his rider lost his irons at a crucial stage. Sandymount Duke was not 100% when failing to complete a five-timer in August and is worth another chance now back from a break.
14:45- Qewy was just about the best of these over hurdles, but this is a fairly warm introduction to chasing, and both Rock The World, who has impressed with his jumping so far over fences, and Sizing Codelco, whose connections are well known for getting the most out of their horses in this sphere, make more appeal as Placepot options.
15:20- Kilfinichen Bay has won 8 of his last 9 starts since joining Charlie Longsdon, and now finds himself a whopping 60lbs higher in the weights as a result. He continues to find more improvement as he is upped in grade, however, and he has place claims in an open race. Evan Williams is in excellent form at the moment and Dark Spirit demands plenty of respect now returned to handicaps, considering she won on her reappearance last season and has some useful listed form to her name.
15:55- Vintage Vinnie relished the switch to hurdles when bolting up at Worcester last month, and although the bare form is hard to assess, the fact that the second and fourth have won since is certainly no negative. His superb jumping will stand him in good stead for this test, and he is worth banking on for a place in our fourth leg, despite this being a warm novice event.
16:30- Drumlee Sunset was an expensive purchase after beating a subsequent bumper winner on his only start in Irish points, and with plenty of improvement expected now sent over obstacles, he is narrowly preferred to Nicky Henderson's Newsworthy in this interesting maiden.
17:05- Conas Taoi is two from two since he was fitted with cheekpeices, and he may well have more to offer after winning at Towcester last time with something in hand. He is worth including along with Five Star Wilsham, who is just 2lbs higher than his last winning mark, and arrives here with his yard in excellent form.
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