There is no doubt that connections of one of the other favourites, Alcopop, would have preferred far deeper conditions than these. Two wins on heavy going and another on soft highlight that all his best performances have come on far more testing ground than this.
Drying conditions create potential value elsewhere in the market, not least in the shape of the top weight, Hurricane Harvey, who has the credentials to take full advantage of today's drop in grade.
He is certainly handicapped to do so and at a similar stage last season, he finished third of thirteen behind Rocco and Potterman in a Listed handicap chase at Wincanton, showing that he was still a very classy performer in that sphere.
11:55 (Uttoxeter) Hurricane Harvey
And in March this year, having reverted to hurdles, he was seen finishing third of eleven in a higher-graded Class 3 handicap over three miles of Newbury's left-handed track, in which he finished a place in front of Stellar Magic who, only a few weeks earlier, had finished less than two lengths behind the winner of a higher-graded Class 2 handicap at Haydock.
Hurricane Harvey ran equally well next time out, when he finished just outside the frame in a stronger Class 2 handicap on good ground over three miles at Haydock, another tight, left-handed hurdles track.
That contest was won by An Tailliur, who subsequently went very close to winning another Class 2 off five pounds higher, before finishing third of fifteen in a big Class 2 at Cheltenham, for which he was another two pounds higher.
With the other frame finishers that day also producing progressive subsequent form, it seems clear that a similar performance in today's much weaker staying handicap would make Hurricane Harvey hard to beat, especially as he is now seven pounds lower.
He has completed just two hurdling starts since then, the latest of which came just last month when he was a never-nearer eighth of eighteen in a shorter Class 3 event at Cheltenham. Some good late work saw him pass eight rivals on the run-in, suggesting he needed a longer trip, which sets him up nicely for a return to three miles, especially as he now drops down a class.
In these handicaps for conditional riders, an established horse/rider partnership is always advantageous, so the fact that Jack Hogan rode Hurricane Harvey at Cheltenham last time is a major plus, especially as he receives a handy 6lb allowance.
- Next best: Ballymagroarty Boy
Of the others, Ballymagroarty Boy is another who is down in grade and up in trip, and he too should run well in what is an easier race than he has been contesting so far this season.
A solid midfield finish when returning from a 615-day break at Ffos Las in October would have encouraged connections and the nine-year-old improved again at Exeter last time out.