13:15 Ludlow Wed 8 January 2020
Returned to fences to make the frame in the 3m Perth Gold Cup (good to soft) in June and hasn't seen a great deal of competitive action since; sports first-time cheekpieces; is potentially a cut above this level of opposition, major chance.
Well beaten when fifth in the Grade 3 Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown (3m4½f, good) in the spring; has been campaigned mainly over the Cross Country fences at Cheltenham since; stablemate of Diplomate Sivola.
Finished four places (14L) behind Dragon D'Estruval at Ascot on penultimate start (feasibly needed run); sitting duck for Quarenta (stronger finishing kick) in a three-runner affair at Fontwell (3m2f, soft) subsequently; stablemate of Rolling Dylan.
3lb higher than when beating Forth Bridge by 10L at Leicester (2m6½f, good to firm) almost exactly a year ago; moderate since, including when a detached last of nine over C&D (soft) three weeks ago; needs more with cheekpieces now applied.
Rolled back the years when making all and jumping well to score by 1L over C&D (good) in April; well below that level of form when last in competitive action at Bangor in August (pulled up); runner-up on only other Ludlow start (January 2018).
Won for the second time at this track (7-24 career) when justifying favouritism over C&D (good) in early October - beat Beau Du Brizais by 1½L; just 2lb higher (in a stronger race); is likely to force the pace with Abusson; can't be dismissed.
Boasts a solid record over fences (7-19) although this race represents a marked step up in grade (1lb 'wrong); is regularly produced from off the pace so could pick up the pieces if the leaders go overly quick; most effective on good/good to soft.
Last Year's Winner
Dragon D'Estruval (3/1), Rolling Dylan (3/1), Diplomate Sivola (4/1), Marble Moon (4/1), Another Stowaway (8/1), Aubusson (10/1), Irish Octave (25/1)
- Dragon D'Estruval
- Diplomate Sivola
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