Timeform's Matt Gardner heads to Doncaster for Sunday's crack at the Placepot...
"Rock A Doodle Doo is one that I’ve been waiting to go into handicaps over hurdles for a while now, and he finally gets the chance here..."
12:10 - Morning With Ivan, a useful performer on the Flat when trainer by Jim Bolger, made a promising start to her hurdling career when second at Catterick earlier this month, form which sets the standard amongst those with experience in the opener, and she boasts the scope for improvement to boot. It's also worth including Aminah, who unsurprisingly failed to cut much ice when highly tried on hurdling debut at Aintree, but she should do better with that experience under her belt now in calmer waters.
12:40 - Given his overall profile it's difficult to say with much authority just how strong Royal Guardsman's finishing effort at Sandown earlier this month would have been but for a chance-ending mistake two out, but he remains open to improvement on just his third start over fences and could go close here. The second selection is Next Sensation, who fell when travelling powerfully at Newbury last time. His jumping had looked an asset prior to that, and he could well bounce back here.
13:15 - Corkage is a temperamental performer who cannot be trusted, but he is simply too well handicapped to ignore and is worth chancing after returning to form over C&D, in this headgear, when second to Timesishard a fortnight ago. On the off chance that Corkage decides not to play ball however it's also worth sticking in Mister Dillon, who looked as good as ever when fifth at Cheltenham after a break and has definite claims if able to build on that now.
13:45 - There are a number of interest in this novices' hurdle, including No Substitute, Mr Bridger and Pure Oxygen, but with four places on offer it's difficult to see Oscar Hoof missing out. The five-year-old made a fine impression when winning two bumpers last term, and made a decent start to life over hurdles when second in a listed race at Haydock last month.
14:20 - It's tempting to include Real Milan on his belated return to action but the most solid proposition in this field is Susquehana River, who actually improved a bit when second to Top Dancer on just his third start over fences at Newbury last time. He is pretty unexposed over the larger obstacles compared to most of these and should be bang there in the firing line.
14:55 - Rock A Doodle Doo is one that I've been waiting to go into handicaps over hurdles for a while now, and he finally gets the chance here. A useful performer on the Flat, the six-year-old hasn't been harshly treated by his opening mark and should go well.
12:10 - 1, 5
12:40 - 4, 8
13:15 - 6, 8
13:45 - 11
14:20 - 7
14:55 - 1
= 8 lines