IN SUMMARY: With Wild West Wind, Three Faces West and Yala Enki all likely to want to go forward, this should be a mighty test. That will suit THE DUTCHMAN just fine, who won the Peter Marsh Chase on his latest start with consummate ease. He’s now thirteen pounds higher but he’s unexposed as a stayer and an extra two furlongs should eek out further improvement. Blaklion is an obvious danger, but having to concede a stone and upwards to all his rivals may just prove a bridge too far.
Blaklion | J: Sam Twiston-Davies T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
Went down swinging when second in this race twelve months ago, arriving on the back of a very easy victory in the Becher Chase. As a consequence he's now eight pounds higher and away from his beloved National Fences. He's clearly the class act, but having to give over a stone to all his rivals may just prove too much.
The Dutchman | J: Danny Cook T: Colin Tizzard
Relished the stamina test when winning the Peter Marsh Chase over 3m 1f last month. He won comfortably that day and a thirteen pound rise is no surprise, with this extra two furlongs expected to eek out further improvement. He's lightly raced for his age and Cook is an ideal booking for a marathon race. Leading claims.
Yala Enki | J: Charlie Deutsch T: Venetia Williams
Admirable front-runner who has been in and out of form this season. He fell at the first on his latest start and he remains on a workable mark. He's won over 3m 2f previously so this trip may not be out of reach, but he would need it easy out in front and he won't get that here. Others look far more straightforward.
Three Faces West | J: Tom O'Brien T: Philip Hobbs
3/8 over fences, well beaten on his return over 3m 3f at Cheltenham. He likely needed that run but a fall over these fences in December has complicated his claims. He shapes as though he'll relish this challenge and he's still unexposed, but he really does need to get back on track. A bold bid can be expected from the front.
Silsol | J: Noel Fehily T: Paul Nicholls
Returned to fences on his latest start when fifth in the Welsh Grand National, travelling well for a very long way. A slight drop in trip will suit on that evidence and he's three pounds lower, with only five runs over fences thus far. There should be more to come from him over fences and he couldn't be ruled out for a place.
Wild West Wind | J: A. P. Heskin T: Tom George
Returned this season with a game victory at Chepstow, falling heavily when in front in the Welsh Grand National. He's now two pounds higher but this lightly raced nine year old should have far more to offer as a marathon runner. The heavy ground is ideal for him and he's unexposed, so he won't be far away provided the fall has dented his confidence.
Sir Mangan | J: Henry Brooke T: Dan Skelton
Had promised plenty as a marathon stayer but was very disappointing at Warwick last time, weakening at the 19th in the Classic Chase. His stamina is now a big question mark and he faces some rivals who will really tough it out. It's not difficult to look elsewhere.
Mysteree | J: Robert Dunne T: Michael Scudamore
Won the four miler Eider Chase last season but was struggling from an early stage on his return. He won on his return last season so fitness shouldn't have been an issue, but it would be no surprise were he to bounce back to form. With such a strong pace likely, his extra stamina could prove crucial and may land him a place if they go too quick.