This race has a short history of three runnings but not one winning favourite yet so today could well be the day. Starting at the top and Fergal O’Brien’s Master Dee (4/1) is all set to try to carry eleven stone eight to victory though to be fair he shares that weight with others. Six races over fences give him an experience advantage over some here and with two wins three seconds and a third he looks nailed on for the places at least, though he has been put up six pounds for a ten length win at Ludlow last time out and may find others better handicapped for now.
With the Paul Nicholls yard in such ridiculous form (56% winning strike rate as we write), no race preview would be complete without the inclusion of San Benedeto (6/1 Each Way) who won his first two races at Sedgefield and Worcester before flopping last time at Newton Abbot to finish last of four in a better race. Dropped back in trip and class on Saturday he is yet to match his hurdling exploits over fences and races off a mark eight pounds lower here than when third at Huntingdon over hurdles back in February and has room to go on once he brushes up his jumping. That potential seems to make him the one to back this afternoon at the prices and he may have more tactical ability in a small field than the majority of his rivals.
Having spoken to Nigel Twiston-Davies this morning (Friday) we are quite aware he is waiting to see the going before deciding on the participation of Ballybolley (4/1) but if he runs he is a class act and won’t go under without a fight. They like him a lot at home and he did win last time out all be it by only a neck from Shear Rock and much as we all love Nigel here, he does look as if he needs to pull out a little bit more than that if he wants to finish in front of some of these this afternoon.
Gary Moore is another trainer we have a lot of time for along with all of his family, and he has Remind Me Later (4/1) in here sat at the bottom of the weights and receiving eight pounds or more from all of his rivals. Third of four and last of three on his only two outing over fences that don’t really add up to anything worthy of more than a passing mention, but he did win a couple of point to points and may have a bit more to offer long terms than we have seen so far.
Last but not least and Emma Lavelle has left Crimson Ark (7/2) in here as the six-year-old makes his debut over fences. He has always been seen as a chaser in the making yet still won a couple of races over hurdles at market Rasen and Fontwell though both were over further than this and he may need a bit more of a stamina test before he is seen at his very best.