Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings for this two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase (12:40) are headed by Tom Creen (124), who returned from six months off with a career-best effort to resume winning ways at Sedgefield in October, quickly asserting on the run-in to win by four and three-quarter lengths. He then took another step forward to follow up at the same course last time, making light of a 6 lb rise in the weights as he stayed on strongly to land the spoils by a length and three-quarters. Clearly thriving at present, Tom Creen still looks one step ahead of the handicapper up another 5 lb and remains one to follow in his hat-trick bid.
Sageburg County (123) produced a rare below-par effort when pulled up on his return to action at Warwick three weeks ago, but he too remains potentially well treated judged on the form of his victory at Market Rasen in May. That was his first start over fences and he was ultimately well on top at the finish having jumped fluently in the main, hitting the front entering the straight and just needing to be kept up to his work from there to win by three lengths. The manner of that victory suggests he should be competitive from a 6 lb higher mark and it's far too soon to be writing him off after just one bad run.
Generous Day (122) is only 2 lb higher in the weights than when winning this race 12 months ago, but he isn't the easiest to predict nowadays and was below form when returning from seven months off at Huntingdon last time. No No Tango (112+) similarly made little impact on his return to action at Hereford earlier this month, failing to improve on his hurdles form sent chasing after eight months off (had a breathing operation in the interim). He needs to leave that effort well behind to shake up the form principals in this line-up.
They include Fazayte (121), who could be the one to emerge as the biggest danger to Tom Creen as he seeks a fourth straight win over obstacles with a few runs on the Flat in between. He proved better than ever when last seen winning over fences at Sedgefield 12 days ago, leading on the approach to the last and keeping going well from there to land the spoils by three quarters of a length. He's built up a good strike rate since joining the Ryan Potter yard and there is no reason why he shouldn't give another good account up 4 lb.
The field is completed by Somespring Special (?) and Grosvenor Court (chasing debutant), both of whom arrive here with a bit to prove. A fair hurdler for the Anthony Honeyball stable, Somespring Special made an unpromising start to her chasing career after five months off when pulled up at Wincanton last time, leaving the impression something might have been amiss (reportedly lost a shoe). Grosvenor Court also struggled on his latest outing over hurdles at Warwick, his first start for David Jeffreys (formerly trained by Alan King) after fully 19 months off. He was a fairly useful hurdler at his best but is perhaps best watched now back up in trip for his chasing debut.
Timeform Analyst's Verdict:
Tom Creen and Fazayte are both bidding to extend winning sequences but the former looks the one who could still be ahead of his mark. Sageburg County disappointed on his comeback but is worth another chance given the style of his chase debut win at Market Rasen back in May.
Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings:
124 Tom Creen
123 Sageburg County
122 Generous Day
112+ No No Tango
? Somespring Special
Grosvenor Court (chasing debutant)
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