1 COOL MACAVITY – Top weight for Nicky Henderson’s nine-year-old but it could have been more had he won or placed at Cheltenham last time out when falling under James Bowen two out when travelling as well as any and looking to have every chance of following up his success at Towcester the race before off six pounds lower.
2 PRAIRIE TOWN – Without a win since November 2015 and eighteen losing starts for trainer Tony Carroll though his last run was in a decent Listed handicap at Ascot when unsurprisingly outclassed before finishing stone cold last, fifty- four lengths adrift of the winner. This is a drop in class but he was beaten twelve lengths in a similar standard at Ayr when third in April off five pounds higher and he looks better handicapped here and could put in a decent run at these weights.
3 JUSTIFICATION – William Clarke claims ten pounds off the back of Gary Moore’s nine-year-old gelding who hasn’t been seen on the track since finishing twenty-seven lengths fifth at Newbury over half a mile further. His one win over hurdles was over the same trip at Sandown and with wins at up to a mile and three-quarters on the flat he may well find this on the sharp side this afternoon and after over nine months off the track, he ought to find this too much for him.
4 LITTLE CHUNK – Just the one race so far for Kim Bailey after leaving the Warren Greatrex yard in October when as solid second at Ludlow and likely to be race fit now after his first run since early May. That was over two miles five when he looked one-paced close home but he has won over this trip at Plumpton when winning his maiden and can put in a decent showing now with the decent Mikey Hamill in the saddle.
5 BROUGHTONS RHYTHM – Put up just the four pounds after winning at Uttoxeter in March over this trip under Richard Johnson but has to pull out all the stops on his first run since. Making his debut for Oliver Sherwood after leaving Henry Spiller and with the yard ticking over nicely with a 20% strike rate he is hard to just ignore, though the market may give us a clue regarding his race fitness after eight months off the track.
6 MILZIPA – At first glance it would be easy to see him as the Nicky Henderson second string and he is still a maiden after one start in a Plumpton bumper and three starts over hurdles. Always seen as a big backward sort last season was all about gaining some experience and he is expected to win plenty of races this season and could be very well weighted here.
7 GLOBAL THRILL – Has to be seen as an interesting option off bottom weight here after two wins in a row at Stratford in October and a third to Ivor’s Queen at Wincanton after being put up to a rating of 104. Runs off a pound less here with the experienced Mitchell Bastyan in the saddle and with form and fitness on his side he could surprise them all if given an enterprising ride off just ten stone one.