IN SUMMARY: Cloonacool, a C&D winner in January, is forgiven his defeat in a 2m4f Grade 2 contest last month and expected to go well, while Presenting Arms is another likely raced chaser with an appealing profile. However, it could be worth taking a chance on FAYETTE COUNTY (10/1 E/W). Tim Vaughan’s gelding was pulled up on his only start this season and has now failed to complete three of his four chases, but he might well have won if given a more positive ride on the other occasion and is now 4lb lower. Also of interest is Parsnip Pete, who was out of form last year but might have been freshened up by a break and is Paddy’s Brennan’s pick of the two Tom George-trained runners.
1 Cloonacool – Won a Listed handicap hurdle at Market Rasen (2m, good) in September and opened chasing account at second attempt, over C&D (heavy) in January; found combination of 2m4f and Grade 2 company too taxing on latest outing but remains one to be interested in.
2 Zarzal – Has never won off a mark this high but likes this course and made very encouraging return from absence when keeping-on third on ground much softer than her prefers at Chepstow (2m, heavy) this month, his first run over fences since May 2014; player if building on that performance.
3 Presenting Arms – Returned from absence with two 2m handicap hurdle wins in late 2015 and was too strong for short-priced favourite in small-field Doncaster novice chase (2m3f, soft) on recent debut over fences; might still be improving and needs to be taken very seriously.
4 Arkaim – Won this race for Pam Sly in 2015 but was sold out of that stable (for £8,000) after running poorly over hurdles in December; might have benefited from the change of scenery but remains on a fairly tough mark and is sometimes sluggish in the early stages; sports first-time hood.
5 Parsnip Pete – Now 1lb lower than when landing a valuable prize at the 2014 Aintree festival; seemed badly to lose his way last year and comes here with quite a bit to prove, but soft ground may not have suited on last couple of outings and he ought to be fresh after a 103-day break.
6 Fayette County – Fell in first two chases but appeared to be getting his act together in this sphere and caught the eye when a strong-finishing fourth at Taunton (2m, heavy) in January 2015; not seen again until pulled up at Chepstow a year later but remains unexposed over fences and is worth a second look; hood removed; tongue-tie added.
7 Keel Haul – Two wins last year, the second in competitive event at Cheltenham (2m, good) in November; player if able to match that performance here but his two runs this year have been very disappointing and he needs a change of headgear to perk him up.
8 Artiface Sivola – Gained wide-margin success at Fakenham (2m, good to soft) in October and also ran well when clear second over C&D the following month; hasn’t made any further progress, though, and some of the others make more appeal.
9 Noche De Reyes – Scored over C&D (good) a year ago and was second off mark 3lb higher than today’s back here in November; good chance on that evidence and didn’t run badly after a break at Newbury this month, but Paddy Brennan has jumped ship today.
myracing Forecast Prices: 3/1 Presenting Arms, 4/1 Cloonacool, 6/1 Zarzal, 7/1 Noche De Reyes, 8/1 Artiface Sivola, 10/1 Parsnip Pete, Fayette County, Keel Haul, 12/1 Arkaim