Steve Ryder has three selections for today's racing.
The Colin Tizzard yard remain in improved form this season as shown by two winners (including one at 25/1) yesterday and his representative RECTORY OAK (best priced at 5-2) should prove hard to beat on the back of his reappearance run. His best career performance so far came when 2nd in a bumper here in 2019 before finishing down the field in three novice hurdles so far this year.
Rectory Oak finished 5th at Wincanton on his reappearance behind the impressive Knappers Hill where he once again appeared to find the 2 mile trip too sharp. The six-year-old now makes his handicap debut off a mark of 95 and also steps up in trip slightly to 2m2f which should suit him well. The gelding has a 4lb higher mark in the future so runs here “well in” at the weights and he should prove hard to beat as a result.
Pertemps Qualifiers are often a tricky puzzle to solve but I like the chances of the Paul Nicholls trained STORM ARISING (best priced at 6-1) in this. The seven-year-old was only beaten ½ length in this race last season off a mark of 134 and he should hold strong claims off only 5lb higher.
Following his run in this last year, Storm Arising won a competitive Chepstow handicap off a mark of 136 before finding the Pertemps Final a step too far at the Cheltenham festival. Storm Arising runs here in first-time cheekpieces and if they bring about any sort of improvement then I expect him to prove hard to beat.
Anthony Honeyball has a good record with bumper horses and the extremely well-bred FIRESTREAM (best priced at 9-4) still looks value despite being well backed overnight. He is by Yeats out of the talented Swincombe Flame and is a brother to listed bumper winner Master Debonair so this should be his game.
Firestream contested a hot Ascot bumper at the end of October when he finished a close 4th and that experience should be of huge benefit to him against newcomers in this race. Aidan Coleman takes over from Rex Dingle which is a positive and I expect him to get off the mark at the second attempt.