Only a small field of 5 for this Grade 2 Chase and the race should be run at a good clip. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: One Track Mind was certainly the best of these over Hurdles last year and Warren Greatrex is bound to have him tightly wound up for this. He is taking on a few promising Chasing recruits however and it is worth chancing him with PROTEK DE FLOS who was a smart hurdler himself last year and with his yard in good form recently, can make a winning start for Barry Geraghty who comes over to ride him today.
1 Virgilio – Very smart Hurdler last year for Dan Skelton and made a seamless start over fences when scoring convincingly by 13 lengths from Paul Nicholls’ Rock On Oscar. Followed up next time out by beating the useful Brother Tedd from the Philip Hobbs yard at Newton Abbott by 6 lengths but pulled up on last start at Wincanton 20 days ago with something looking amiss that day. Possible he may discover his earlier fences form in this but easy to overlook off top weight today.
2 One Track Mind – Smart hurdler who has had only 2 runs this year. He was ¾ down to Reve De Sivola in the Grade 2 Rendlesham at Haydock in February before producing a career best to win the Stayers Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival at the end of April beating Jennie’s Jewel by 2 1/4/ lengths. Makes his first start over fences today and key player if taking to them. Yard in good form.
3 Our Kaempfer – Former Hurdler who hasn’t won since March 2015 when landing the second of two back-to-back races at Market Rasen and then Kempton. Useful form since without winning and made his chase debut last month at Newbury in what was essentially a match race against Big Bad John from the Rebecca Curtis yard. Got turned over at odds-on that day by 6 lengths and hard to see him producing the necessary effort to take this.
4 Clan Des Obeaux – Won a Bumper in France before being sold to Paul Nicholls’ yard last year and fulfilled expectations by winning on hurdling debut at Newbury last December comfortably scoring by 21 lengths. Only 6th in the Triumph at Cheltenham he made a reasonable enough start over fences last month, finishing 4th behind Our Kaempfer in 2nd. Looks like a chaser in the making but this may come a bit soon for him in this line-up despite the yard continuing in fine form.
5 Protek Des Flos – Won on debut for Nicky Henderson having run well in two starts in France last year. First a 1 ¼ lengths to the re-opposing Clan Des Obeaux at Cheltenham in the Triumph Hurdle trail at Cheltenham in January and followed up by scoring by 4 ½ lengths in a Novice Hurdle at Sandown in February. Good second on his last start at Auteuil at the end of March and looks to be a top-class recruit for fences. Big player.