IN SUMMARY: Aso has a touch of class and will be a very tough nut to crack if on song, but he’s slightly flattered by the bare form of his plugging-on fifth in the Arkle at Cheltenham and it was disappointing he wasn’t able to put up more of a fight at Aintree recently, for all that he faced another tough assignment there. The nagging concern with main market rival DORMELLO MO (11/10) is that 2m5f on soft ground might tax his stamina, but he’s a triple course winner who has proved very reliable since switched to fences and he gets the nod. The other two, Fourth Act and Union Saint, also have plenty of ability but, on these terms, they look vulnerable against the top pair.
1 Aso – Had subsequent Cheltenham festival winner Ballyalton behind when winning graduation chase at Market Rasen (2m5f, soft) in January and was creditable fifth (albeit never dangerous) to Douvan in the Arkle in March; strong contender on that evidence but ought to have done a bit better at Aintree 11 days ago and tendency to clout the occasional fence is another concern.
2 Dormello Mo – Has gained all three wins on good ground here, two over 2m and the other over today’s trip; earns good marks for consistency and makes quick reappearance after finishing second at Cheltenham (2m, good) on Wednesday; combination of 2m5f and soft ground here may stretch his stamina but, otherwise, he makes plenty of appeal.
3 Fourth Act – Drew nicely clear to open account over fences in Wincanton handicap (2m4f, soft) in February, his seventh start in this sphere; subsequent defeat in first-time cheekpieces (retained) at the Cheltenham festival shouldn’t be viewed harshly but he isn’t favoured by today’s weights and needs the top two on the card to under-perform.
4 Union Saint – Seems very versatile regarding trip/ground and began chasing career with two good efforts here last spring; however, was almost certainly flattered by his proximity when runner-up to Dormello Mo over 2m on the second occasion and meets that rival on the same terms today; ran poorly after break in January but, to his credit, he bounced back quickly when a very respectable fourth at Exeter (2m3f, good) last month.
myracing Forecast Prices: 11/10 Dormello Mo, 9/4 Aso, 5/1 Fourth Act, 7/1 Union Saint