IN SUMMARY: Mr Whipped and Chooseyourweapon are both point winners who arrive on hat-tricks and both have leading claims, but preference is for COUNT MERIBEL. He does have to concede three pounds but he has the best form in the book, with his latest second at Cheltenham setting the form standard. He will be much happier back down to this trip and should be unpestered on the front end, which he can take advantage of for in form connections.
Count Meribel | J: Mark Grant T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
Progressive six year old who ran a career best race when second at Cheltenham last time. A drop back in trip looks sure to suit this front-runner who will make this a stout test from the front. He shouldn't have pressure on the front-end and can take for a fourth hurdling victory.
Cave Top | J: David England T: Oliver Greenall
Arrives on a hat-trick after scoring twice at Uttoxeter over the 2m 3f distance. The form of his latest victory is nothing special in the context of this race though and plenty more is needed in a much tougher race. Looks sure to miss out.
Chooseyourweapon | J: Adam Wedge T: Evan Williams
Point winner who cost £210,000 at the Cheltenham Sales, winning both his hurdling starts thus far. He did it well at Chepstow last month and remains unexposed. He will appreciate this step up in trip and has his conditions, so he's unlikely to be far away.
Knight In Dubai | J: Harry Skelton T: Dan Skelton
Five year old point winner who made a winning hurdling debut at Wetherby last month, taking it with plenty in hand. The second has franked the form since but this is a much tougher contest. He's obviously unexposed, but he should struggle against a few of these.
Mr Whipped | J: Nico de Boinville T: Nicky Henderson
Made a winning rules debut at odds of 2/9 for top connections, backing up that effort when scoring with plenty in hand at Newbury last month. Henderson does very well with these types and he's completely unexposed. Conditions are perfect and he's an obvious contender.
Paisley Park | J: Nick Scholfield T: Emma Lavelle
Made the best possible start over timber when scoring at Hereford last month, perhaps a fortunate winner on the day. That said, he was keeping on well against a horse with some useful form in the book. Each way claims if building on that effort.