15:55 Ayr Sat 22 April 2017
Novice who put up a cracking effort when runner-up at Cheltenham in the National Hunt Chase over this trip. Has top weight to contend with but with a clear round he has each-way claims.
Enjoyed a really 2015/16 campaign but has struggled in all starts this term. Has won at this Festival twice before, so this track may spark a revival, but hard to recommend on recent efforts.
Shapes as though he will stay this far and usually does well in the spring. Could argue that he is well handicapped on some previous form and has won here when fresh before, so a market check advised.
Relatively consistent performer who has finished 10th in a Grand National and goes on any ground. However, he comes into this on a mark 8lb higher than his best win and we have seen enough of him to think that it would be a bit of a surprise if he suddenly improved enough to win this.
On the same mark as when winning this last year (good to soft). No real concern that he has not won again since, as his campaign was geared towards Aintree, where he fell at the first. Should be fresh and ready to do much better again here.
Another who ran well behind Tiger Roll in the National Hunt Chase and does not have much to find with Missed Approach from that race. Raised 2lb for his effort and no obvious reasons why he is a few points shorter than that opponent, so not sure is he is great value.
Grand National winning jockey gets the leg up on this consistent performer for whom conditions ought to be ideal. Up 10lb for a wide margin heavy ground win at Kelso and was then beaten from this mark last time. Another with each-way claims.
Had a perfect record until coming to grief when likely to be beaten for the first time at Chepstow in January. Has already won in a big field and is reported to only do enough, so despite his lack of experience he could emerge as a major player over this extreme trip.
His run behind Minella Rocco in last year's National Hunt Chase looks good in the context of this race, although any value in his price has probably gone as a result of that. This season's form less impressive and has a bit to prove coming into this.
Was in good form with back-to-back wins, including over a similar trip, until losing his place early on in the National Hunt Chase last time and pulling-up. At least he didn't have a hard race there. Same mark today and needs to improve to be winning from it.
Stayed on for third in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir at Cheltenham (3m2f, good) from 2lb lower than today. Consistent, so another good effort anticipated. Wears tongue strap and cheek pieces together for first time. Unexposed and looks a leading player.
Pulled up in this last year but proved himself over an extreme trip when winning a National at Catterick in January. That was a career best on ratings and he will need another from 6lb higher. Danny Cook looks elsewhere and others make more appeal.
Without a win since Warwick's Classic Chase of 2014 (3m5f, soft). That was from 8lb higher and he has put in a couple of really good efforts over a similar trip to this in Newcastle's Eider Chase since then, including last time. Visored for first time, which may help, although only 10th in cheek pieces in this last year.
Third in this only his only previous visit to the track last year and beaten only 1L that day from 1lb higher. Won at Aintree earlier in the campaign from 4lb higher but form has since tailed off. Chances at his best, though a leap of faith now required.
Won a couple of hurdles in 2015 but not seen a lot of action since and has failed to win again. Well beaten from today's mark in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir last time and others make more appeal.
Won this in 2014 from 5lb higher and seventh last year from 10lb higher. Powers perhaps on the wane, having seen him struggle in all three starts since taking an Aintree handicap chase (3m1f, good) last spring.
4lb higher than his last win, which was 14 months ago at Ludlow. Got competitive from 1lb lower in Listed company at Ascot in December, but has a bit to find with a few of these on his Cheltenham running last time. Cheek pieces added for first time here and not ruled out if they have a positive effect.
Looked like he might stay 3m5f when unseating at Sandown last April, though untried beyond that and has stamina to prove as a result. His novice form would entitled him to a decent shout here if he could reproduce it, but there have been a number of missed opportunities since and he looks worth taking on.
Yet to win in six attempts over fences, but has run some good races in defeat and was threatening when falling in a Grade Two at Haydock in January. Could argue that he is well treated given that run, but has fallen twice in last three when jumping under pressure and no great value in his price in view of that.
Won a novices' chase in May (3m1f, good to firm) at Wincanton, Unable to add to that during this winter, but he has run three commendable enough races. Dropped 1lb since Cheltenham, when not knocked about in defeat and interesting stepped up in trip and in first-time cheek pieces.
Been in reasonably good form throughout the winter and had a sighter over an extreme trip when fifth in the Midlands National last time. Dropped 2lb in the weights ahead of this and although he does need to improve, he will take whatever ground as it comes and is better each-way value than a number in this.
Last year's Midlands National winner (soft), but he has only put in one decent performance since then, on his return run at Haydock. Pulled up in last month's Uttoxeter marathon from same mark as when he won and no encouragement over hurdles last time.
Has proved hard to win with over fences (1-11) but got off the mark last time by a wide margin at Wincanton (3m1f, heavy). Raised 7lb for that and has already run well in Sussex National over half a mile shorter than today, suggesting he may get home. Concern that ground may not be slow enough.
Was third in this in 2014 from 8lb higher. Had problems since and was off the track for 18 months, leaving Tim Easterby for current yard in that time. Has come back well over hurdles with a 2m5f Kelso win last time, so if this doesn't come too soon he could be a candidate.
Decent effort when third to Ultragold at Aintree in the Topham last time and stays this far, having made the frame in an Eider. However, balance of his form when tried in these sort of contests is to take him on today.
Comes into this on the back of a respectable sixth in the Midlands National from 2lb higher and then a decent effort over 3m4f at Ffos Las earlier in the week. Has won on good to soft, though best form shown on softer ground and it is a tall order to run two staying chases in a week.
Pulled up at Cheltenham last time and not in great form this season, but runner-up in this last year when beaten 2¾L by Vicente in receipt off 11lb. 6lb better off with that opponent today, so can't rule him out, but losing run dates back to 2013 and it take some optimism to see him ending it today.
Won three times over fences for Alan King, though not yet added to that for current yard. Has failed to complete in two of three starts this season and well beaten in the other and his odds are a true reflection of his chance based on that.
Won on good to soft at Cartmel last summer from 3lb lower, but no encouragement in any of his subsequent runs and has plenty to find with several of those based on his running at both Cheltenham and Aintree on his last two runs.
Has shown little for over two years now and after over a year off the track and a change of yard, he did not give much cause for optimism on his sole start this term, over hurdles at Navan in January. Readily opposed.
Last Year's Winner
Vicente (9/1), Southfield Royale (9/1), Sugar Baron (10/1), Arpege D'alene (10/1), Premier Bond (11/1), Shotgun Paddy (12/1), Vintage Clouds (14/1), Alvarado (16/1), Henri Parry Morgan (16/1), Another Hero (16/1), Trustan Times (16/1), Cogry (18/1), Missed Approach (20/1), Seldom Inn (20/1), Blakemount (25/1), Battle Of Shiloh (25/1), Dawson City (25/1), Kruzhlinin (25/1), Dancing Shadow (33/1), Portrait King (33/1), Fine Rightly (33/1), Vivaldi Collonges (33/1), Lessons In Milan (40/1), Al Co (40/1), Benbens (50/1), Straidnahanna (50/1), Man With Van (66/1), Father Edward (66/1), Firebird Flyer (66/1), Gone Too Far (80/1)
- Sugar Baron
- Battle Of Shiloh
- Missed Approach
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