Fingal Bay is the highest-rated horse in this race and will certainly be the one they will all have to beat. He is unbeaten in five career starts and was particularly impressive when outstaying the subsequent Neptune Hurdle winner Simonsig in the Winter Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown in early December.
His form is rock solid, he will appreciate the likely cut in the ground and, provided he has recovered from the minor injury that stopped him competing at the Cheltenham Festival, it is difficult to imagine him not being involved in the finish.
Cotton Mill would have gone close in the Neptune Hurdle but for running out at the second last. This is a step up in trip for him and any further rain would be of major concern to his chances.
Lovcen brings the Albert Bartlett form to the table and his staying on fourth place in that contest could be good enough to see him run well and finish in the first few here.
Knock A Hand showed his suitability to heavy ground with three impressive successes at Chepstow (twice) and Bangor. In his latest start he showed real battling qualities to get back up to deny Gullinbursti at Newbury on good to soft going. The form of that contest looks to be quite strong and both the protagonists hold chances of finishing in the prize money in the Sefton Hurdle.
Tap Night has been very impressive in his last three wins in relatively weak races; he comes here a fresh horse after missing the Cheltenham Festival but will still need to improve significantly on what he has achieved thus far.
Baby Shine is an improving mare who will enjoy any cut in the ground. She has a lot to find on official ratings but could easily outrun her price.
Ballyrock has form in the book with the favourite Fingal Bay and, although he may be flattered by the proximity of his finishing position with the winner that day, the improved form of the Tim Vaughan stable is massively in his favour. He is another horse that could run well at a big price in a wide open looking contest behind the likely hot favourite.
Fingal Bay has a big chance of winning this race and is likely to be a very strong favourite for the contest. In the unlikely event of the ground turning very soft Knock A Hand would have to come into the equation and could represent some reasonable each-way value.