A really good race in prospect, Seldom Inn and Big River both have very good records here, but the former is not suited at all by the weights and the latter has a bit to prove after two slightly disappointing runs. That may swing it in favour of SHANTOU FLYER, who has run two good races in competitive handicaps at Cheltenham so far this year since fitted with a tongue tie and this step up in trip looks to be a good move for him.
Seldom Inn | J: Brian Hughes T: Sandy Thomson
Has a fantastic record here with figures of 121122 running from a 10lbs lower mark over hurdles here last time he could not get to the winner after some poor jumping. Back over fences now but the conditions of this race don't really suit (has to give weight to the rest of the field) and may need a stiffer test than 3m.
Shantou Flyer | J: Jonathan Burke T: Richard Hobson
Won a valuable handicap at Cheltenham last season, tried to repeat that win in the same race this season in first-time cheekpeices but could only manage second. No match for Frodon last time back at Cheltenham but the conditions of this race suit him well and has a decent chance if the cheekpeices continue to bring improvement.
Charmix | J: Callum Bewley T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
A very useful novice hurdler at one point for Harry Fry, did not do quite as well as expected over fences last season, sold for £33,000 in May and moved to Gordon Elliott. Yet to fire for this stable and has been beaten a long way in all four starts for the yard, trainer now tries first-time blinkers.
Big River | J: Derek Fox T: Lucinda Russell
Has a fantastic record here with form figures of 11211 and has taken really well to fences this season. Winner over course and distance on chasing debut, had excuses when pulling up at Haydock afterwards. May have just needed the run at Warwick last time when staying on strongly, well favoured by the weights and good chance here.