In receipt of both sex and age allowances Pepite Rose won’t be an easy nut to crack but Raya Star (1:30) looked a useful prospect when winning a soft ground Uttoxeter bumper in March and can strike at Fontwell this afternoon.
Alan King’s Milan gelding also ran well when runner-up on his reappearance, under much quicker conditions at Bangor, and the third home has won since to boost the form.
The 2m2f trip should suit and the five-year-old is taken to get the weekend off to a flyer for the trainer, who will be looking forward to the return of Bensalem at Cheltenham tomorrow.
King’s other runner on the card, Batonnier, is another really smart sort, but he has to give lumps of weight away in the bumper, so it’s off to Ireland for the day’s second selection.
Mourad (1:45) was fancied to land the Galmoy Hurdle last week and, with Luska Lad no longer in the line-up, Willie Mullins’ charge appears to have less on his plate in the re-arranged contest at Gowran Park.
The six-year-old proved he stays this trip last time and, if the improving young stayer is to justify his lofty position in the World Hurdle market, he really needs to be landing the odds here.
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Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase