IN SUMMARY: Plenty reverting to fences after some success over hurdles but THANKYOU VERY MUCH arrives here after sharpening up on the flat including a decent second at Newcastle in October. He has won twice from just the eight starts over fences and while conditions remain in his favour, he looks to have an excellent chance of win number three over the larger obstacles at these weights.
1 PRINCE KHURRAM – Three wins in a row at Bangor Fontwell and back at Bangor in August and September over hurdles, but not seen over fences since a six-length second (of two) at Leicester in December last year. Finished a good third at Kelso earlier in November and runs off the same mark over fences here, and with the Donald McCain stable in good heart he has every chance reverting to perhaps his best trip.
2 CIVIL UNREST – Jockey Steven Fox takes a useful five pounds off his back this afternoon as he did last time at Kelso when the eleven-year-old was second over hurdles but he has to carry three pounds more over fences. He has won five chases, the latest in August, but never off a rating this high and his weight could yet be his downfall.
3 TRUST THOMAS – Plenty of recent chasing experience but looks to be out of sorts with a twenty-two length fourth at Kelso last time out when outpaced after the third from home. This is his trip and his ground and he has won off up to ten pounds higher as recently as May last year but needs to bounce back to that sort of form to get involved here.
4 THANKYOU VERY MUCH – Fitness is not an issue after two recent runs on the flat with a second at Newcastle and a seventh last time at Wolverhampton, both over two miles or so. Lightly raced over fences with just the eight starts for two successes here over a furlong further and then at Leicester, both at this time of year. He runs off just the two pounds higher than his last victory and he does have course knowledge as well which has to be seen as a distinct advantage.
5 MUWALLA – Lisa Harrison’s ten-year-old arrives here in good form after finishing second in his last two starts, beaten two lengths over course and distance and a length and a quarter at Newcastle over half a mile further. Yet to win off a rating this high and unlikely to be getting any better at the age of ten but hard to simply dismiss under these circumstances.
6 ENDEAVOR – Gets in here off a featherweight but is unlikely to be improving further at the age of twelve. He has won here over hurdles back in 2014 but that is from seventeen starts at Musselburgh in his long career and although he did win over hurdles at Kelso in September, that was off a mark of 77 and he has thirteen pounds more this afternoon which seems likely to prove beyond him these days.