BURBANK (2.25) goes handicapping off quite a stiff mark but he could well outclass his rivals in the 188bet Casino Hurdle at Aintree.
I’m still stuck in Flat mode and don't usually play seriously over the jumps until next month's three-day Cheltenham Open meeting comes around, but early evidence points to Nicky Henderson having his string well forward.
Henderson's Cool Macavity was travelling strongly when knuckling on landing at Cheltenham on Friday and Thomas Campbell was heavily bet yesterday before winning what looked beforehand a very competitive handicap hurdle with plenty of authority.
It could be a similar scenario today as Burbank ended last season in grand form, running fourth to Willoughby Court in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham before signing off with a second to Give Me A Copper at Ayr.
Burbank, like Thomas Campbell a son of Yeats, appreciates decent ground and he looks sure to be in the mix.
The Old Roan Chase, sponsored by 188bet, is a tough one to call but CLOUDY DREAM (3.00) could be set for another productive campaign.
Malcolm Jefferson’s gelding chased home Altior in the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham and bowed out for the season with a game success in the Future Champion Novices’ Chase at Ayr in April.
Cloudy Dream has form in bigger-field handicaps over hurdles, notably his strong finish into second place in the 2016 Scottish Champion Hurdle.
Paul Nicholls always fields a strong team at his local Wincanton track and I made a note of GIBBES BAY (1.00) following his recent return to action when sent off a strong 2-1 shot.
Always handy, Gibbes Bay led two out but had no answer when Arty Campbell loomed up at the last. There was no disgrace in defeat as he was conceding a thumping 20lb to the battle-hardened winner.