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URBAIN DE SIVOLA is quite prominent in the ante-post markets for the Triumph Hurdle and should take plenty of beating here. Things didn't go his way on his first couple of starts over obstacles but a 10-length defeat of subsequent dual winner Ranjaan at Newbury when last sighted in November marked him down as a very promising juvenile and any further rain would help. Point winner Dualla Lord went close back over hurdles here last month but isn't certain to appreciate the shorter trip this time, so perhaps Giordano Bruno, third to Darlan over C&D last month, will pose more of a threat.
CHANGING LANES was the subject of a mammoth gamble at Southwell last week and duly bounced back to form with a hard-fought win. Still quite lightly raced for current connections, the nine-year-old remains really well treated on the pick of his old form, despite having to shoulder a 7lb penalty today, and the cheekpieces worn for all four of his career wins are understandably retained. Hobbs' Dream beat Gentleman Jimmy in good style over C&D last month and can confirm the form off a 5lb higher mark, while Cosway Sprit could improve for the move up in distance and application of blinkers.
Colin Tizzard has his string in excellent shape and although clearly no superstar, WOSAYU could be worth siding with. He looked a tricky ride when last of three at Fontwell but had shown some promise when running on late at Plumpton previously and might be worth another chance if first-time blinkers do the trick. Alldunnandusted, Grand Article and Kinkeel look solid each-way alternatives, while Swainson may appreciate the return to better ground.
SIRE DE GRUGY put a moderate comeback run firmly behind when fourth to Zarkandar in the rearranged Betfair Hurdle on Friday and providing that fine effort hasn't taken too much out of him, it looks a wise move to run him again quickly before the handicapper can react. Gary Moore's charge is in fact racing off the 2lb lower mark he was handed after the weights for Newbury were published and can take full advantage. Edgardo Sol has crept up the ratings following two creditable performances in defeat since his Aintree/Cheltenham double earlier in the season but another big run looks assured. Dare Me is entitled to strip fitter for last month's reappearance run and strikes as well treated on the pick of his novice form, while Akula impressed at Wetherby in December but has since been well beaten on the Flat.
It might pay to focus on the top two on the card, with CLEVER DICK, now sporting a tongue-tie, narrowly preferred to Genstone Trail. The selection went very close to justifying market confidence when second to Hohlethelonely on his handicap debut at Huntingdon and he possibly got bogged down in the heavy ground when disappointing at Fontwell last time. Time Book is a probable improver, with consistent mare Roxane Bruere also on the shortlist.
TEMPLER has his sights lowered here and although well held three times since his narrow victory at Ffos Las in August, he looks a good bet to defy the big weight in this company. Divine Intavention and Jack The Lad are next best on official figures and both line up on the back of respective confidence-boosting victories in point-to-points. Marigolds Way has a bit to find but she jumps well and invariably gives her all.
Well-bred David Pipe inmate UNEX DEGAS showed up nicely for a long way before ultimately finishing a well-held third in testing conditions on his debut at Exeter last month but he's going to be much wiser for the experience and drier ground should see him in a better light this afternoon. Rainbow Haze has twice found just one too good in races of this nature, including over C&D last month, and he tops the dangers ahead of The Mumper and point-to-point scorer Vering.
Urbain de Sivola and Dualla Lord are closely matched, but the former possesses more scope for improvement, and is the clear choice over this trip. Giordano Bruno is next best.Timeform 1-2-3
Changing Lanes has every chance of following up last week's Southwell success under a penalty. Recent C&D winner Hobb's Dream is a live danger, and Gentleman Jimmy can pick up some more place money.Timeform 1-2-3
The handicapper has given Kap West a chance to record his first success and he can take advantage here. Alldunnanddusted and Grand Article look the main dangers.Timeform 1-2-3
Sire de Grugy is the obvious starting point following an excellent fourth in a hot Newbury handicap last week, but a chance is taken on the talented Dare Me instead following a fairly encouraging reappearance. Edgardo Sol is another to consider.Timeform 1-2-3
Clever Dick has shaped better than the bare form on his last 2 starts, and is taken to gain compensation here. Roxane Bruere and Time Book could prove next best.Timeform 1-2-3
Templer has been found a good opportunity on his return to hunters and should prove too strong for Divine Intavention and Jack's The Lad.Timeform 1-2-3
Rainbow Haze gets the nod over Unex Degas of those with experience, but he looks vulnerable to an above-average newcomer, and Whacko fits the bill from a yard which always has its debutants well forward.Timeform 1-2-3
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Barry looks back on his recent rides including at Cheltenham on Saturday where Peace And Co strengthened his grip on the JCB Triumph Hurdle market with a course and distance victory on Festival Trials Day.
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