Beat That has won three from five over today’s trip and arrives here having won his last two, racing for red-hot trainer Nicky Henderson, so needs to be treated with respect, while On Tour has an excellent record on his first run of the season, finishing 1st or 2nd for each of his last five first time out runs so is another worthy of consideration.
That said, Double Ross won this race in 2016 carrying 11st 7lbs and put in a gallant effort when fourth last year carrying 11st 12lbs. He is now twelve-years-old but had a pipe-opener at Perth last month so should be spot on for this race. He looks to have an excellent chance carrying just 11st 1lbs and with both trainer and jockey operating at over 30% winning strike rates over the last two weeks.
Double Ross (WIN) – NAP
It has now been two years since Charbel last tasted victory but he has been racing at the highest level, in the process of giving Altior a minor scare in the Arkle in 2017 before falling two from home, and showed enough stepping up in trip on seasonal re-appearance last month to suggest that a race of this nature is within his grasp. Trainer Kim Bailey has been in excellent form over the last two weeks with four of his five runners over jumps having won their respective races so I am expecting a big run from his seven-year-old here today.
That said, there are dangers aplenty with 2016 winner Art Mauresque back for more, exciting prospect Barney Dwan returning from his summer break and Garde La Victoire (who has won first time up on a couple of occasions) completing the shortlist.