Lovcen is a strong stayer who progressed well over hurdles last season, lowering Fingal Bay's colours in a Grade 1 over C&D in April. May have even more to offer, but no easy task returned to a handicap.
American Trilogy was as good as ever over hurdles last season. Good fourth in blinkers off this mark at Haydock (3m) in May and contender now sporting cheekpieces on return, despite flopping on Flat in June.
Sir Kezbah showed further progress when landing a couple of staying handicap hurdles in spring of 2011, but things not gone according to plan since, in rear when falling third on recent return and bit to prove now.
Bellflower Boy got back on the up when bagging a brace of 25f Warwick handicap hurdles at the turn of the year. Not disgraced when last seen over fences in April, but remains 15 lb higher than last winning mark
Liberate was as good as ever when scoring twice over hurdles/fences for Philip Hobbs in 2011, but only second best in a claimer for this yard at Southwell (3m) in August and beaten a long way on Flat recently.
Los Nadis twice found one too good off lower marks earlier in the year. Since won on Flat, but miles below best in that sphere recently and others better treated on hurdling return.
Eagle Rock bettered form of Doncaster win when fourth in Grade 1 here in April. Recent fourth in Cesarewitch trial offers hope he can pull out more now given a much stiffer test back in this sphere.
Buachaill Alainn was much improved when capturing a couple of staying handicap hurdles in the summer, winning with something up his sleeve at Newton Abbot (27f) in August and remains of interest off revised mark.
Mavalenta won 3 times on easy ground last season. Took another step forward when going in again at Fontwell (27f) recently, but further 6 lb rise and quicker conditions likely to catch her out this time.
Abnaki showed further progress when seeing off a big field for third win over hurdles under this rider at Cheltenham (3m) in April. However, needs to improve again in order to defy subsequent 9 lb rise.
Ely Brown wasn't discredited 2 of 4 completed starts in handicaps since regaining winning thread at Doncaster (3m) in December. Possible there is more to come, now with a yard that excel with new recruits.
1. Buachaill Alainn
2. American Trilogy
3. Ely Brown
Timeform View: Buachaill Alainn has improved leaps and bounds since having his stamina drawn out, winning with something to spare at Newton Abbot in August, and can keep the winning spree going on his return from a short break. American Trilogy, Ely Brown and Lovcen complete the shortlist.
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