IN SUMMARY: Art Mauresque ran well over C&D in the autumn and is not opposed lightly after last month’s clear second at Cheltenham but ASTRACAD (25/1 Each Way) looks hugely overpriced and is well worth supporting. The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained 10yo was pulled up over the big Aintree fences on his latest outing but the soft ground was against him that day and that run is readily excused. Beforehand, he was a very creditable sixth in The Plate at the Cheltenham festival, where a last-fence jumping error stretched his 13l margin of defeat, and he looks very interesting off a 3lb lower mark here. Fox Appeal seemed to find 2m4f slightly too sharp when second at Newbury last month and remains well handicapped on his best form. Portway Flyer produced a very good performance to win at Kempton in March and is also respected.
1 Fox Appeal – Failed to win last year but ran some good races in defeat, most recently when keeping-on second at Newbury (2m4f, good) last month; remains attractively weighted on best form and the slightly longer trip today is in his favour; one to consider.
2 Cloud Creeper – Progressed well in 2015 and, having won three times, was placed off a mark 8lb higher than today’s in a Listed handicap at Market Rasen (2m5f, good); behind Art Mauresque and comfortably held when fourth after absence at Cheltenham last month but made two significant jumping errors that day and is capable of better.
3 Art Mauresque – Ran a big race when sixth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham (2m4f, good to soft) in November and was seemingly back on track when clear second in Grade 2 handicap back there (2m5f, good to soft) last month; 1lb lower today and could be a very tough nut to crack.
4 Carrigmorna King – Signed off with game success at Stratford (2m5f, good) in September and beat Sew On Target to win small-field event at Taunton (2m2f, good) after absence last month; evidently in good heart but new career-high mark probably leaves this 10yo vulnerable.
5 Sew On Target – Made all for wide-margin victory at Wetherby (2m3f, soft) in February but the value of that form is open to question; will be fine on today’s faster ground and the return to an anti-clockwise circuit is an obvious move after he jumped left behind Carrigmorna King at Taunton last month, but others looks better handicapped.
6 Workbench – Never really got involved in the Red Rum Chase at Aintree last month but his eighth in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham (2m, good) in March was very respectable; 4lb lower and in calmer waters here but this sort of trip appears to stretch his stamina.
7 Quite By Chance – Gained two wins on soft ground at Wincanton (2m/2m4f) during the winter and has remained in decent form since then; also has form on a sound surface but holds no secrets from the handicapper and will probably find at least a couple of these too strong.
8 Astracad – Didn’t take to the big Aintree fences when pulled up on latest outing a month ago but that run can be excused and he gave a very good account when about 13l sixth at the Cheltenham festival (2m5f, good) beforehand; now just 1lb above his latest mark and dangerous to ignore.
9 Al Alfa – Made all at Stratford (2m3f, good) in August and exploited novice hurdle status here (2m5f, good) the following month; excused his heavy defeat over the big Aintree fences after break last month but probably still too high in the weights to win a race this competitive.
10 -Portway Flyer – Returned from long absence with two disappointing runs on slow ground at Ludlow in the winter but was much better suited by a sound surface when clearcut winner of valuable event at Kempton (2m4f, good) in March; hit with 11lb rise for that but remains well handicapped on old hurdles form.
myracing Forecast Prices: 3/1 Art Mauresque, 9/2 Portway Flyer, 5/1 Fox Appeal, 7/1 Cloud Creeper, 10/1 Carrigmorna King, Sew On Target, 12/1 Workbench, Astracad, 14/1 Quite By Chance, Al Alfa