13:30 Kempton Sat 11 January 2020
Useful chaser at his best, and returned to something like his better form when second at Catterick last time, a run that's earned him a 3lb rise in the weights; trip and likely ground fine, and is going for the hat-trick in this race.
Some useful form to his name back in 2018, only seen out once last year when last of 7 in heavy ground at Chepstow in December. May still need another run or two to achieve peak fitness, and best watched today.
2-2 over fences with some solid jumping displays here at Kempton and Aintree, impressing on both occasions; handicapper gives him an 11lb hike for latest success but on an upward trajectory and there's surely more to come.
Tends to reserve his best efforts for Ascot these days, but this track ought to suit and he's now back on his last winning mark, so has some positives; ground against him last two starts too, so looks a lively outsider if it keeps drying.
Probably didn't stay 3m in bad ground last time, so a ready excuse for that defeat, and if he could return to the form that saw him win at Uttoxeter last October, he would have a chance. Short break may have helped, and not discounted.
Looked a chaser to follow when hosing up at Exeter back in October and ran well behind Sammy Bill at Aintree last time; work to do to turn that around but still unexposed and not ruled out here.
Has the physique for fences but it's not happened in three starts for him so far, and most disappointing when fading out of it and pulling up at Newbury last time; could bounce back if getting it together and yard now in better form.
Not beaten far over slightly shorter here last time but has made mistakes in both his chase starts so far, which has held him back; young enough to improve and at the right end of the handicap if he picks his feet up.
Last Year's Winner
|T: Miss Amy MurphyJ: Jack Quinlan|
Sammy Bill (9/4), Erick Le Rouge (7/2), Sao (9/2), Mercian Prince (6/1), Gowiththeflow (8/1), Mr Medic (10/1), Cap St Vincent (12/1), First Drift (20/1), One For Billy (33/1)
- Mercian Prince
- Sammy Bill
- Erick Le Rouge
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