A competitive staying handicap chase for a prize of £13,191. Read on for expert analysis and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: REGAL FLOW was a creditable third behind runaway winner What Happens Now last time but a hefty swing at the weights could see him could home in front today. Indian Stream was backed almost into favouritism that day and ran well for second so should be involved again.
1 SUGAR BARON – Has only had six runs over fences and has put in some excellent efforts despite only winning once. Was last seen running a massive race in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown, he didn’t jump overly fluently that day and has potential off this mark if improving in that department.
2 TINTERN THEATRE – Only made two appearances over fences and they have been slightly underwhelming. He had no chance behind Finian’s Oscar on chase debut when beaten eleven lengths but fell last time and has something to prove here.
3 SOLSTICE SON – A course and distance winner who has been lightly raced in recent years. Ran an excellent race when last seen at Uttoxeter and is only up two pounds for that performance, has scope for further improvement and should be considered.
4 PHIL’S MAGIC – Won the Midlands National at Kilbeggan earlier in the year under a brilliant ride from Donagh Meyler. Ran a respectable race when behind two very well handicapped rivals in the Munster National last time and can race off that mark today; considered.
5 WHAT A MOMENT – Last year’s winner who looks to defend his crown after a 248 day break. Was last seen when pulled up in the four miler but there’s no shame in that and he has likely been targeted at this, has a bit to prove but interesting.
6 DUELING BANJOS – Any booking of Jamie Codd is eyecatching and this is no different. Finished last season with a win and a second and his comeback run was excellent, he should have come on for that and a one pound rise for that seems fair.
7 WHAT HAPPENS NOW – Absolutely hacked up in a race similar to this over course and distance last time. Had any amount in hand when scoring by nine lengths that day and an eight pound rise may not be enough to stop him, the booking of Derek O’Connor is a big positive too.
8 MONT ROYALE – Last got his nose in front in May at Cartmel and remains three pounds higher than that winning mark. Has placed a couple of times recently but those have been quite moderate efforts and others appeal as better handicapped.
9 PICKAMIX – Has made a bright start to his chasing career with two solid efforts in defeat. He was well clear of the third last time out at Worcester and a two pound rise doesn’t leave him impossibly handicapped; one to consider.
10 LAMB OR COD – A lovable veteran who has won over this course and distance before but his last two runs read PF on the form book. Has slipped back down to his last winning mark so is feasibly handicapped but needs to prove himself here.
11 INDIAN CASTLE – Finished a very well backed staying on second to today’s rival What Happens Now when last seen over this course and distance. He stayed on from a long way back that day and races off just one pound higher today so is interesting again.
12 ANGUS MILAN – Last won at Kelso in December 2016 but that was a Class 4 and his reappearance wasn’t overly encouraging. He comes here with questions to answer and will need to have taken a big step forward to get involved at this level.
13 GENTLEMAN JON – Ran a solid enough race at Wincanton last month and has been second off one pound higher than this last year. Cheltenham is a testing track for poor jumpers however and he can throw in a mistake here and there, needs more.
14 REGAL FLOW – Was beaten just a neck two starts ago when attempting to complete a double and ran a decent race to finish third over course and distance last time. He was behind a couple of today’s rivals but has a swing at the weights with What Happens Now and he should be there or thereabouts again.
15 AS DE PIQUE – Hasn’t won for well over a year now and fell at Punchestown when last seen. He is beginning to look quite well handicapped on old form but has to prove he still retains all his ability and this is a tough track to do it at.