15:10 Haydock Sat 12 May 2018
Bolted up in this last year off a 22lb lower mark. Has been taking on top-class opposition on softer ground than ideal and this return to handicap company and a sound surface makes him a threat to all.
Progressive handicapper who was runner-up to Havana Beat at Aintree last time despite being badly hampered at the final hurdle. Up another 5lb which leaves him a little vulnerable.
Last year's Scottish Champion Hurdle winner, who was an excellent third in the same contest on his latest outing, having previously run a fine race at Cheltenham. Inching back up the weights, but is much respected.
Failed to shine over fences and was switched back to hurdles when seventh at Ayr last time, not too far behind Chesterfield whom he meets on better terms. Would prefer a greater stamina test.
More successes over fences than hurdles, but is switched back to timber off a 16lb lower rating. Would be doing well to win a competitive hurdle such as this at the age of 10.
Chased home John Constable at a respectful distance off this mark last year and has been running well over fences, including when second to the high-class Footpad at Punchestown on his latest start. Solid claims back over timber.
Capable hurdler and chaser who returned to the smaller obstacles at Cheltenham last month when he finished fifth after holding every chance. Has a bit to find with second-placed Forth Bridge.
Chased home Dear Sire at Muselburgh and filled the same place at Cheltenham last month. Suspicion this flatter track will play to his strengths and he is fairly handicapped.
Defeated Dear Sire in good style at Aintree last time, but has been hit with a 10lb rise. That makes life tough, but he is certainly not out of it.
Trained by Paul Nicholls when runner-up in this contest two years ago, but struggle to replicate that form until running much better when fourth to Havana Beat and Dear Sire at Aintree last time. Each-way claims at long odds.
From last year's winning stable, he showed signs of a return to his best form when sixth of 17 in the Imperial Cup at Sandown last time. This better ground is a factor in his favour and he warrants respect.
Has been mixing it with some decent novices and switch to handicap company last time saw him finish a creditable fifth of 20 at Sandown. Up 2lb, but seems to be improving and can get involved.
Three wins from his last four starts and was a ready scorer over 2m4f at Perth on his latest outing. Up 9lb in a much better race and has a lot to do in a first-time tongue tie.
On the upgrade over timber in 2016, but has not been seen for 17 months. Shrewd trainer can prepare a horse to win after an absence, but this is extremely competitive.
Has plenty of experience in big handicaps and was sixth in this last year off 4lb higher. Not an obvious winner, but would be nicely treated if recent wind surgery has done the trick.
Stable companion of Optimus Prime and a decent back-up at that despite racing from 4lb out of the handicap. Won well at Fakenham last time.
Last Year's Winner
|T: Evan WilliamsJ: D N Russell|
Capitaine (6/1), Silver Streak (13/2), Optimus Prime (13/2), Act Of Valour (13/2), Chesterfield (7/1), William H Bonney (10/1), John Constable (12/1), The Unit (12/1), Sizing Granite (12/1), All Set To Go (18/1), Forth Bridge (20/1), Havana Beat (22/1), Ashkoul (25/1), Lord Napier (25/1), Hassle (33/1), Dear Sire (33/1)
- John Constable
- Optimus Prime
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