Ergo Sum was a heavily gambled on winner over hurdles last time and the market is probably the best guide to his chances now over fences, his yard are in fine form though so a precautionary check is strongly advised. Cloud Creeper was probably as good as any of these over hurdles, his overall record over smaller obstacles (1-12) is hard to overly enthuse about but he did win his only race in an Irish point. Philip Hobbs’s seven year old can race off what looks to be a workable mark and he is taken to prove himself a much better proposition in this sphere. Rhapando was in the process of running a fine race the last day before falling at the last when third, the winner of that has since gone in again but the risks are obvious and his overall record is off putting. Until Winning must overcome a long absence and may improve for the run, he’s shown ability though and his yard is also in fine form.
Cloud Creeper (E/W if 5/1+)
Holiday Magic was a costly failure when chasing the hat-trick at Kempton the last day, that run was too bad to be true but the way he hung under pressure when beaten was worrying and backing a short priced favourite with questions to answer looks unwise. Dr Red Eye is hardly a consistent sort in his own right, he’s better than most of these when on a going day though and the yards form makes him a big player. His recent fourth at Kempton was probably a better effort than it looked and with a soft lead looking assured, he can make it tell. Corporal Maddox is frustrating but well treated whilst Smart Salute has a bit to find with Holiday Magic.
Dr Red Eye (WIN)
Desperate ground seems the only certainty on todays card at Hexham, a few of these wont mind though and this looks to be quite a competitive race for the grade. River D’or has been called plenty of names in his time and once again got himself beat in a three runner race at Ffos Las, last time. He hasn’t won for a couple of years now but is thrown in if finally deciding to go through with it. On the face of it he’s the one to beat in this but is far too risky and is likely to be the favourite. Tarabela can jump poorly and has only one success from six attempts over fences, she is the class horse of the race though and has won off an eleven pounds higher mark over hurdles. Johnny Farrelly’s mare may get away with a few ricks over these easy fences and is handed the vote, with conditions very much to her liking. Samson Collonges three chase wins have all been gained here and he has to be respected as such, he may have to pull out a career best today though and is six pounds above his last winning mark.
by Chris Connolly