Trainer Paul Nicholls has started the campaign in fine form currently operating at around a 38% strike rate and his runner Ask For Glory looks to hold leading claims.
A bumper winner on debut he then went on to finish midfield in the 2019 Champion Bumper and has always been held in some regard by connections.
was a wide margin winner on his second start over at hurdles at Wincanton and whilst that was not much of a race, he couldn’t have done things much easier winning by an eased down 23 lengths.
His yard will have had plenty of options for a race they have won 3 times in the last 10 years and he`s open to plenty more progression this season with a recent wind opp also expected to help.
Midnight River kept on well to win a maiden hurdle at Uttoxeter 19 days ago and should have more to come for Dan/Harry Skelton partnership.
140 rated chaser Topofthecotswolds reverted to hurdles with a success last time and is another to consider for a yard who generally do well this time of year.
Selection: Ask For Glory
The Gordon Elliot trained Galvin arrives here in fine heart after securing a hattrick of victories over the summer including a grade 3 chase last time out.
The Irish trained raider finished 2nd here in a handicap chase at the festival and on that form looks the one to beat if reproducing that effort.
The concern however is he takes on some strong staying types and he`s unproven over a trip this far with all his winning recently being been done over shorter.
Another who arrives here in good form is Soldier Of Love, the Paul Nicholls runner has won all 4 of his chases starts this summer but he may not be suited to any ease in the ground and his form overall is not as strong as some of his opponents to date.
Doctor Duffy was a bit unlucky when falling at the first in the Munster National 12 days but comes right into this on the bases of his strong third-place finish in the Kerry National the time before.
He`s proven under todays conditions and with doubts about the suitability for a couple of his rivals looks the one to be with.
Selection: Doctor Duffy (Next Best)
Captain Tom Cat looks a real interesting runner for last season’s winning combination of Dr Richard Newland and Cillian Leonard, who also have a 30% strike rate overall in the last year.
Successful in 2 of his 3 starts over hurdles to date a rating of 121 could be lenient based with the form of those races being franked since.
Nicky Henderson runs a couple of lightly raced types of interest, Hijack should have more to come after his 2nd place effort on his first start back while Fix Sun could improve for the step into handicaps for the first time after a recent wind opp. Both are just a couple of possibilities in a wide-open event.
Selection: Captain Tom Cat
This looks likely to be ran at some gallop with plenty in the line up liking to force the early pace.
One of which is the Chris Gordon trained On The Slopes, third in a handicap here back in January we already know he handles the course and looked to take his form to a new level when changing to front running tactics over shorter trips on his last 2 starts after.
Rouge Vif represents last season’s winning connections and will find this easier than the graded novice chases he was competing in last season. Winner of the Kingmaker at Warwick and third in last seasons Arkle a mark of 156 in a race of this nature makes him the one to beat.
Scardura won in good style last time and looks progressive but is another who could get caught up in an early pace battle.
Selection: Rouge Vif (NAP)
Despite looking handicapped to his best likely favourite Jonah Jones has to be respected after some solid efforts in stronger handicaps than this recently.
King`s Lynn finished midfield on handicap debut in the Ayr Silver Cup but is better judged on his earlier efforts and still has time on his side for the Andrew Balding / Oisin Murphy partnership.
Dazzling Dan has struggled to find his form this season but is now 7lbs below his highest winning mark and his last couple of efforts have shown glimpses of a return to form. He`s a previous course and distance winner who back under ideal conditions looks to offer some each-way value.
Selection: Dazzling Dan (Each Way)
Last seasons Champion Bumper sixth Ocean Wind looked a stayer going places on the level after a ready success in a decent handicap at Newmarket recently.
The 7lb rise for that victory looks more than fair and this progressive type is expected to follow up here.
Opera Gift has a similar profile and looks the main danger though the 3-year olds form is at a lower level to date than that of the selections.
Selection: Ocean Wind
Leave a comment
Follow StefanFellows84 on Twitter