Steve Ryder has three selections for today's racing.
Both Burrows Saint and Pencilfulloflead are better chasers than hurdlers and are just using this conditions hurdle as a prep race for later in the season so preference instead goes to WESTERN VICTORY (best priced at 10-3) who is a five-time winner over hurdles. The Declan Queally trained mare won a listed mares hurdle at Gowran Park in October by an impressive ten-length margin and is well deserving of a rating of 139.
Western Victory finished a close 3rd behind Dysart Diamond and Royal Kahala at Punchestown last month and she should prove hard to beat with the benefit of race fitness against both Burrows Saint and Pencilfulloflead.
Jamie Codd has a good record on the Jim Dreaper trained SHOPPING AROUND (best priced at 3-1) so his presence on the mare isn’t a negative and she should prove hard to beat despite racing here off a 7lb higher mark. She made a winning reappearance over this course and distance 35 days ago when she won easier than a winning distance of 1 ¼ length suggests.
The runner-up Ciankyle has boosted that form with a 2 ¼ length victory on his next start so the handicapper has actually decided to raise Shopping Around up another 1lb but that doesn’t come into effect in this race so she runs 1lb “well in” at the weights. Her stablemate Forrard Away looks the biggest danger but preference goes to Shopping Around who receives 6lb from that rival.
INTERNATIONALANGEL (best priced at 2-1) bids for a four-timer in this race and should hold strong claims of remaining unbeaten since joining Jane Chapple-Hyam. The four-year-old has proved a shrewd purchase by new connections as she has won both of her starts over this course and distance since moving yards. The first of those came off a mark of 67 in October before following up off 1lb higher 28 days ago when she won easily by two lengths under Adam Kirby.
The second that day Wonder Starelzaam had previously won easily on his AW/Stable debut and he pulled 2 ¾ lengths clear of the third. The handicapper has raised Internationalangel 12lb for her latest victory up to a mark of 80 but she looks really progressive and should prove hard to beat over this course and distance.