Plumpton is the most undulating National Hunt track in the country and its roller-coaster nature requires a specialist type of runner. The circuit favours the handier, well-balanced individuals and is very much against the longer-striding gallopers, who often become unbalanced by its undulations.
With that in mind, the mare at the bottom of the handicap, Brown Bullet, looked to have been significantly underestimated in the early market, because not only is she a course specialist but she also goes well in testing ground.
All three of her career wins (two over hurdles and a point-to-point) came with cut in the ground, with two of them coming on genuinely soft ground.
Those soft-ground wins include her novices' hurdle success over this very course and distance, which came at precisely this time two seasons ago.
15:30 (Plumpton) Brown Bullet
On only her second visit, she beat eight rivals to win that event by over a length from a 113-rated runner-up when in receipt of seven pounds (the front pair pulled 13 lengths clear of the third).
A performance like that makes her current handicap mark of just 94 look very appealing under identical conditions.
Indeed, she contested this race last season on testing ground, and she finished fourth of ten when racing off 109 (15 pounds higher than today).
None of those who finished ahead of her are in today's line-up and she arrives in far better form than she did last year.
On the back of a 196-day break at the end of October, she finished second of seven on her season debut, again over this identical trip, beaten by less than two lengths in a stronger Class 3 handicap.
In finishing a close-up second, Brown Bullet beat five rivals rated up to 118 and she ran off a mark of 98 (four pounds higher than today).
That race took place on good ground, which would have been quicker than she prefers, so she looks of major interest here.
Now twelve pounds below her last winning mark, she looks in the form to take advantage of this favoured set of conditions, with James Davies, who rode her to her fine seasonal debut, being a good booking.
- Next best: Mr Freedom
Of the others, four-year-old Mr Freedom should go well given that he won over this specialist track back in September when he won a juvenile hurdle over 17.7 furlongs, following up with a ten-length win in a similar event at Fontwell.
His latest run was in an even stronger Grade 2 at Cheltenham, where he again ran well for a long way but didn't get up the finishing hill.
He looks better suited by a track like this, although he will have to prove himself on the testing ground, having never run on worse than good to soft.