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Chepstow preview: Church Field fancied to follow-up

Church Field scored with a bit in hand last time out and can make light of a 5lb rise in the weights to follow-up in the 2m 7f handicap hurdle on today’s card at Chepstow (14.30).

The Jonjo O’Neill trained gelding showed much improved form in the summer of 2013 when racking-up a four-timer, with the last of those successes coming in a class 3 handicap at Cartmel off a mark of 113.

Church Field got put up 9lb to 122 for that win and his form tailed-off badly. However, after being cut plenty of slack by the handicapper Church Field has returned to form with a vengeance of late.

After finishing a a 1/2 length runner-up at Market Rasen, Church Field showed a good attitude to go one better and land a handicap hurdle at Fontwell by 1/2 a length off a mark of 112 when last seen in action.

A son of Heron Island, Church Field idled when hitting the front, but only had to be driven out to score with more in hand than the winning margin suggests.

The assessor has put Church Field up 5lb for that victory, but his current mark of 117 should not be beyond him in this class 4 contest on the pick of his form.

Connections have also offset the rise by putting up 10lb claimer Jack Savage, so Church Field is effectively running off 5lb lower than when scoring last time out if taking it into account.

Ballykan created a good impression when making a winning debut over fences and can defy top weight to land the 2m 7f novices’ handicap chase (15.35).

The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained gelding won two of his three starts over hurdles last season, with the last of those coming at Wetherby where he made all and stayed on strongly to score by 2 1/4 lengths off an official rating of 122.

It was a most taking performance, and one which suggested the strapping five-year-old was one to keep onside.

That view was confirmed when Ballykan made an impressive winning debut over fences at Uttoxeter earlier in the month, jumping well in the main and scoring easily by seven lengths.

The son of Presenting looks a smart chasing prospect judged on the manner of that success, and an opening handicap mark of 127 could seriously underestimate Ballykan’s ability given that he remains lightly-raced and open to any amount of improvement.

Selections:
14.00: Potters Corner
14.30: Church Field (NAP)
15.00: Marju’s Quest
15.35: Ballykan (NAP)
16.10: Haverstock
16.40: Battlecat
17.10: Desert Retreat