Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 10:51 05/01/2015
Betting for the Class 3 handicap chase is headed by top-weight Royal Player who stuck to the task when preventing Gorsky Island from landing a hat-trick at Ludlow last month. But having gone up 9lb for that effort, Philip Hobbs' promising chaser will need to pull out all the stops again and is worth opposing with the lightly-weighted Island Heights.
Rated a 3/1 chance with Betfred, Island Heights will be in receipt of a full 25lb from the market leader when factoring in the allowance of capable apprentice jockey Adam Nicol and the 6-year-old looks to have plenty to offer over fences judged on a promising chase debut at Sedefield in October. Wilson Renwick perhaps left it a little to late to mount a challenge in that race as Island Heights went second before the final fence, but could not reel in Sharp Rise despite being still full of running when passing the judge.
The Lucinda Russel-trained bay gelding was a fairly useful hurdler and should see out today's 3 mile trip judged on his final start in that sphere, with more improvement expected over the larger obstacles now freshened up after a couple of months off.
Dream Flyer looks most likely to chase the selection home having won a Wetherby handicap in December, while course winner Blenheim Brook has slipped to a workable mark and could run into a place if putting a couple of poor runs behind him. Lively Baron was well-held off just 2 lb higher in this race last year, while Lord Wishes has been out of form for quite some time and needs to find plenty to get involved.