There is a good day of jumps racing at Stratford on Thursday, and that is where we head for today's Placepot attempt.
"The best option may well be Charbel, who was fourth in the Punchestown Champion Bumper last season..."
13:40- Cyrien Star may have more to offer in this sphere after defying a higher mark than this over hurdles last season, before being pitched in to a good contest at Warwick on his final start and probably being slightly out of his depth. Muckle Roe seemed to relish a step up to this trip when getting off the mark at Worcester last time out and should run well under a penalty.
14:10- Knights Parade has not been without his issues and the safer option for a place could be Barton Rose, who shaped as if retaining her ability when having a pipe-opener at Market Rasen earlier this month and is well clear of the remained of the field at the weights.
14:40- Crafty Roberto just about sets the standard from the couple with chasing experience, and he looks a fairly solid Placepot option, with plenty of the others coming here with something to prove. Colins Brother wouldn't be the first horse trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies to improve for a switch to fences, so it is hoped he can continue the excellent current form of the yard and run well here.
15:10- Hawkhurst was a £200,000 purchase after winning his sole start and is sure to be popular here, but there are safer options to be had with the likes of Wholestone who won a decent-looking bumper at Worcester last month (second and fourth have won over hurdles since), and Ballydine, who pulled clear with a useful type earlier this month on his hurdling debut.
15:40- African Gold could be a class above the field here if he is ready to go after nearly two years off the track, but safer place options can be found in the form of Hepijeu, who shaped best at the weights last time at Ludlow under an aggressive ride, and the match-fit Al Alfa who showed himself to be in good heart when winning over hurdles in September.
16:10- This race has been won by some smart horses in recent times including Johns Spirit and Irish Cavalier, and it looks an interesting contest again this year, with some powerful connections represented. The best option may well be Charbel, who was fourth in the Punchestown Champion Bumper last season when left with too much to do, and being Flat bred, should appreciate this sharp track on his first start for Kim Bailey.
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