IN SUMMARY: It’s very hard to get away from AGRAPART, who was third in this race last year despite the ground being completely against him. He posted a career best when winning the Cleeve Hurdle on his latest start and that form is far and away the best in this field. He shouldn’t be for catching and can defeat Boite, who was impressive over 2m 3f at Taunton but does have it to prove at this distance.
Agrapart | J: Lizzie Kelly T: Nick Williams
Loves a slog in the mud and was a brilliant winner of the Cleeve Hurdle on his latest start. That form sees him as the one to catch and he wasn't beaten far in this race twelve months ago by Zarkandar despite conditions being against him. Heavy ground is ideal for him this renewal and he should prove very difficult to pass.
Zarkandar | J: Sam Twiston-Davies T: Paul Nicholls
Won this race twelve months ago ahead of Agrapart, but conditions weren't in that rivals favour that day. He's now an eleven years old and has been well beaten on all his runs since this race twelve months ago. He's clearly not the force of old and looks extremely vulnerable.
Boite | J: Gavin Sheehan T: Warren Greatrex
Progressive in handicaps and was impressive when scoring over 2m 3f at Taunton last month. He made all that day and is likely to set out to do the same despite the step up in distance, which have something to prove at. Nevertheless, he's the biggest danger to Agrapart as there could be more to come.
Donna's Diamond | J: Callum Bewley T: Chris Grant
Course and distance winner on his latest start, surely flattered by how far he won in the end. It was a career best performance regardless, but this is a huge step up in grade. He will handle conditions well which is a big positive and he stays strongly, but in all likelihood he should be outclassed.
No Hassle Hoff | J: Bridget Andrews T: Dan Skelton
Started off this season positively but he was hugely disappointing at Warwick last time. That run gives him plenty to prove and this race is his toughest test so far. He does run well over this course and distance, but he shouldn't be good enough to trouble a few of his rivals.