Fresh off the success of Old Guard in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday, the Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden axis could well be a force again with the potentially well-treated VAROM(best price 4/1) who arrives here off the back of a 663 layoff. Clearly the son of Charming Groom has had one or two issues since we last saw him back in January 2014, but prior to that enforced sabbatical, he had shown plenty of promise in several decent novice hurdles. His best performance came when he split the useful pair Gone Too Far and Gaasin Golf in a Class 3 contest at Wetherby and if the Ditcheat maestro has him anywhere near that sort of level on his comeback run, this lightly-raced grey has more than a fair chance of being competitive off a mark of just 109.
BOYFROMNOWHERE(best price 11/4) got to the heady heights of 130 when previously trained by Rebecca Curtis, but having lost his way, he’s tumbled down to a mark that can be exploited by his current in-form handler. Winner of the Sussex National in his pomp, the son of Old Vic showed a real liking for heavy ground that day, so with the conditions likely to be extremely testing for the runners with all the rain around at present, Neil Mulholland’s charge will be in his element off his low weight.
Although WAKEA(best price 4/1) doesn’t have most appealing form figures of late, there’s every chance he will cast those disappointments aside now returning to the scene of his favourite venue. In winning a competitive handicap over tonight’s C&D back in April, Jeremy Noseda made it 2-2 at the track and armed with the knowledge that the son of Cape Cross has gone well fresh in the past, this all-weather specialist has the qualities to defy top weight.