IN SUMMARY: Hell’s Kitchen clearly has plenty of talent but he’s quirky and unseated his rider at Newbury earlier this month. He’s respected as with a clear run he’s going to be a leading contender off this mark, but preference is for MISTER WHITAKER. Mick Channon’s five year old charged home at Carlisle on his latest start, winning cosily on only his second chasing start. He remains unexposed in this sphere and a seven pound rise won’t be enough to stop him going in again under Adrian Heskin.
1 HELL’S KITCHEN – Has shaped with huge promise on his first three chasing runs, but his jumping remains a sticking point. His second two starts ago is useful form, but he unseated his rider at Newbury last time. Question marks remain but his current mark isn’t harsh and he couldn’t be discounted despite how risky he is.
2 REIGNING SUPREME – Didn’t hang around over timber, running just three times and winning two of them. He did it comfortably when scoring at Newbury in March and he should make a much better chaser. A mark of 134 on handicap/chase debut is not harsh by any means and he’s a leading player for top connections.
3 THEO’S CHARM – Seven year old who has run some good races over fences but is starting to look exposed. He was only third on his latest start after some poor leaps late on, dropped two pounds in the handicap. This looks like a much tougher race and he was knocked over Ascot on the 23rd, so others are preferred.
4 TOUCH KICK – Built on his reappearance when scoring at Sandown two weeks, his second start over fences. He held on gamely close home and has been raised five pounds as a result. He remains with scope in this sphere, but this is undoubtedly a tougher task. Each way claims with further improvement.
5 WENYERREADYFREDDIE – Another for Seven Barrows who didn’t dawdle over timber, competing just four times. He made his return when a promising fourth at Sandown last time and he now makes his chasing debut. He should improve for fences and this longer trip, but De Boinville deserts him for Reigning Supreme. Others preferred.
6 BEGGAR’S WISHES – Won on his chasing debut at Sedgefield last month but raised six pounds, he was well held at Sandown two weeks ago. His jumping was poor that day and he now steps up in trip. He does have plenty to prove beyond two miles and others are readily preferred on balance.
7 PRIVATE MALONE – Eight race maiden over fences who again found one too strong when second at Fontwell last month. That wasn’t a bad run but he’s upped in the weights again and this race is much deeper. He’s hard to discount, but others do look stronger for win purposes.
8 MISTER WHITAKER – Built on a promising chasing debut when scoring at Carlisle last month, jumping well and gliding through the pack to win comfortably. He’s now seven pounds higher but he remains with potential in this sphere and his limitations are far from exposed. Leading player.
9 BAD BOY DU POULDU – Has finished second on his last two chasing starts, putting up a gallant fight at Southwell three weeks ago. He’s two pounds out of the handicap but a step up in trip should suit and he’s still lightly raced. That said, he faces some very interesting rivals who have achieved more. Looks set to miss out.