13:40 Ayr Sat 22 April 2017
Has progressed well on the past year, going up 28lb in the weights after winning four in a row all at 2m7f-3m. Early blunder cost him any chance in National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham last time, so couldn't say that this mark beat him and while this is tough he looks likely to be heavily involved.
In really good form in novices' contest all winter, winning a couple of them. Was sent off 16/1 in the ultra-competitive Ultima at Cheltenham last time and beaten 47L there, which is the only real blot. Back against novices he should fare better.
Won nicely at Exeter earlier in the season and after being out of form a couple of times he came back with a vengeance at Kempton last time for a wide margin success. 4lb higher today and holds decent claims if in the same form.
Handicap wins earlier in the season came from marks of 130 and 138 and goes into this 4lb higher than the latter. Not been up to the graded contests that he has been in since, but may appreciate this return to handicapping and has a chance if on song.
Won at both Hereford and Newbury in February on testing ground each time and was in the process of running a big race when tipping up in the Midlands National last time. Same mark today and absolutely entitled to consideration, though forecast going is a concern.
Unseated at Lingfield when going well and may have been coming here on the back of a hat-trick if it wasn't for that, having won at Plumpton either side of it. Has gone up 11lb for a 35L win last time. This is a significant step up, but trainer has him in super form and merits plenty of respect.
In good form last summer/autumn on better ground. Stays 3m1f and while he has won on good to soft, he would want it drier than forecast to have his best chance. Nonetheless, he is consistent and goes well when fresh, so cannot be ruled out.
With the exception if the ill-fated Pete The Pear he beat nothing at Wetherby, but no denying that he has had a good season and, having bypassed both Cheltenham and Aintree, he comes into this fresher than some. Assessor did not raise him for that latest win and he may still be well handicapped here.
Has run well on both starts here, winning in February over 2m4½f (soft) and not disgraced on bottomless ground when attempting the follow-up. Forecast conditions should suit him better and he might go better today, though likely to find a few too good.
Won back-to-back novices' handicaps at Leicester over 2m6½f (good and then soft ground) and the eighth in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham last time, beaten 31L. Races from same mark today and couldn't rule out a better effort now dropped again in trip.
In really good form throughout the winter, winning three and being runner-up in two other chases to rise 28lb in the handicap. Couldn't handle the step up in class at Aintree last time, but this is more like his level and if firing he would have an each-way shout.
Recorded back-to-back Carlisle wins in March 2016, though they were in novices' hurdles. 0-4 over fences thus far and not showing enough to think that cheek pieces might make the difference today.
Last Year's Winner
Beware The Bear (9/2), Delusionofgrandeur (5/1), Keltus (6/1), Bells 'n' Banjos (15/2), Final Nudge (8/1), Laurium (9/1), Label Des Obeaux (10/1), Calett Mad (10/1), I Just Know (16/1), Baby Bach (16/1), Minella On Line (18/1), No No Mac (28/1)
- Minella On Line
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Matt Brocklebank puts faith in a lightly-raced mare for David Pipe at Exeter on Thursday.
Nick Grant previews the action on Wednesday and reckons John Gosden will be among the winners at Lingfield.
Matt Brocklebank has already had winners at 33/1 and 12/1 this jumps season - don't miss his 16/1 antepost recommendation for Ascot this weekend.