Depending on how much you respect the form two runner races the Paul Nicholls trained Clan Des Obeaux looks the intriguing one in this line up. Potentially high class having run Whisper to half a length he made no mistake the next day at Haydock, given he’s also only five you have to suspect he has plenty of improvement left in him and his chance is massively respected. Splash Of Ginge finally had a going day when winning here the last day, in behind that day was Starchitect and a few others though that form is easy enough to be wary of. King’s Odyssey could go close if jumping better than he has been doing and the likes of Le Prezien and Ballyalton have claims, Starchitect has been in good heart however and can make a up for his narrow miss the last day.



Keeper Hill took advantage of a very easy race when winning on his chasing debut and ran as well as one could expect behind a decent sort last time, useful over hurdles it is unlikely we have seen anything like the best of him yet though he often goes off at short enough odds. Braqueur D’Or finished a fine fourth in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Haydock last time and looks a typical Nicholls improver, this slight drop in trip would be a worry if they dawdled but he clearly has the best form and is taken to turn over the favourite.



Count Meribel has improved rapidly this term and is three from three, despite making a rather bad mistake at Ascot last time he still won in decisive fashion and this step up in class may not be enough to stop him. Equus Secretus is unbeaten in two career starts and has shown a most willing attitude in both, from a good yard you suspect he has plenty of improvement left in him though he must improve a good deal here. Global Stage was entitled to win last time and did it in good fashion though like the rest he will have to show much more to turn over Count Meribel and the latter is taken to account for these.



We Have A Dream could hardly have been anymore impressive when winning at Warwick last time, a fluent mover and still only three it is very difficult to get away from his claims today and he can give trainer Nicky Henderson his second win in this from the last five years. Act Of Valour caught the eye when winning on debut at Newcastle and is an interesting challenger for Paul Nicholls. Je Suis Charlie comes from a yard whom have taken two of the last five running’s of this, any money for him would be interesting though it will take a fairly good one to turn over the favourite.



The New One is a prolific winner at this level and won this contest twelve months ago when readily seeing off the re-opposing My Tent Or Yours, now nine he still retains plenty of ability and enthusiasm and is taken to double up in this with the conditions being no bother to him. Melon represents Mullins and has plenty of ability, still only five you would hope he could get competitive in this though his price doesn’t reflect his form chance. My Tent Or Yours is a favourite of many and his heroic placed efforts in a couple of Champion Hurdles give him every chance, he rarely wins though and was slightly disappointing when beaten my The New One in this last term.



Sego Success can be a little frustrating and was beaten last time despite looking the likely winner, sometimes awkward at his fences he wouldn’t be one for the faint hearted though he did take this two years ago off a slightly higher mark and his claims are crystal clear. Virgilio fluffed his lines at Aintree last time and has questions to answer on that score, he is fairly unexposed however and he could easily bounce back. What Happens Now and Kilcrea Vale represent shrewd yards and are worthy of respect, the vote is handed to Sego Success though as he looks as likely as any to run his race.



This looks rough to coherently decipher so a chance will be taken on Momella who drops back down in class having finished a fine second in Grade2 company last time out. Lady Karina representsVenetia Williams and she won nicely on her return at Warwick last time, the form of that may not be anything to be excited about but she looks an improving type and better is likely to come. Brillare Momento has an eye catching profile and she won here the last day, her yard know how to land races here but her mark asks a serious question today. Rons Dream has been struggling of late though she finished second in the 2015 running of this and is a lively outsider, the rest are hard to get excited about though Oscar Rose could play a part if consenting.


written by Chris Connolly


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