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Class-dropping Big Easy the Citipost choice

Big Easy can take advantage of a drop in grade to score a deserved success in the Citipost Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham today (3.15).

The Philip Hobbs trained gelding won the Cesarewitch on the level at Newmarket in October and has finished second on his last two starts in competitive class 1 handicap hurdles at this venue and Haydock.

In the first of those the seven-year-old went down by 2 1/2 lengths to the well-handicapped Katkeau, sticking to the task well after making a costly mistake four from home.

Big Easy backed that up with a cracking second of 16 to Aubusson where he kept on well to be beaten just 1 3/4 lengths after clouting the second last.

The front pair pulled five lengths clear of the third to give the form a solid look, and although now 5lb higher in the weights Big Easy takes a drop in class into class 2 company this afternoon.

It represents the easiest opportunity Big Easy has had for some time, and the son of Ransom O’War is just 5lb higher than when when registering his last success over hurdles in a similar grade affair over course and distance.

With the Hobbs team remaining in fine form and Richard Johnson in the saddle, Big Easy looks the one they all have to beat.

The obvious danger is the Alan King trained Ulzana’s Raid.

The five-year-old won his bumper in good style on debut and has since shown progressive form over hurdles.

The son of Bach comes into the contest on the back of a hat-trick of victories having put in a game performance beat Dragon’s Den by 1/2 a length in a 13-runner class 3 contest over 2m 5f at this venue last time out.

Ulzana’s Raid stayed on well to score with a bit more in hand than the winning margin suggests and the step up to 3m looks sure to suit.

However this race represents a step up in class ,and off 7lb Higher Ulzana’s Raid is going to have to step up again and post a career-best to give an in-form Big Easy 3lb.