Managable field sizes lead us to Carlisle on Thursday.
"Plenty of unexposed hurdlers make this a tough leg and that there are only seven runners increases the difficulty."
14:20 - This is an everyday novice, few of those with form likely to prove much better than fair in the short-term. That seemingly leaves the way clear for Western Miller, runner-up in a couple of reasonable bumpers and race-fit from the second of them.
14:50 - As in leg one, a race-fit Richard Johnson mount is trusted to carry us through an ordinary contest. Here it's The Grey Taylor, who wasn't beaten far in a significantly better race at Wetherby last week and just looked to have a few cobwebs to blow off there.
15:25 - Plenty of unexposed hurdlers make this a tough leg and that there are only seven runners increases the difficulty. Shear Rock has shown a lot of his hand by now but is in tremendous form and that counts for a lot. Cooking Fat also gets in, having been sharpened up by a couple of recent runs including a good second last time. He left the impression he had more to give last year and this might be the circumstances in which he can show it.
15:55 - A tricky leg, as neither of the market principals have race-fitness to call on. We can have faith in Orange Nassau being thereabouts fitness-wise, given this is trainer Charlie Longsdon's time of year, while to back him up we'll go with King Fontaine, whose poor jumping ought not to be such a crucial issue over these easy fences.
16:25 - On closer inspection, the biggest field we come across in the course of this Placepot offers a fair opportunity to bank. Before winning by a wide margin last time, Amuse Me had been on a roll, including placing off chase marks nearly 10 lb higher than what he carries today over hurdles. As such, we have few fears over his penalty, while his form is assured.
16:55 - Solway Legend's gradual climb through the summer continued into his last run at Hexham, when he looked likely to win prior to falling at the last. He's up 5 lb now but that seems fair enough, at least for him to get involved here. As backup we'll take Gleann Na Ndochais, who is consistent and won't face the stiffest test of his sketchy jumping here. He's also not so weak a finisher as he was, so Carlisle's hill won't hold the same terror as it might have done in the past.
14:20 - 9
14:50 - 6
15:25 - 1, 3
15:55 - 1, 4
16:25 - 8
16:55 - 2, 8
= 8 lines