IN SUMMARY: Agrapart beat L’Ami Serge at Cheltenham back in January but the former needs the Ascot course to flood to be seen at best effect. The latter will appreciate this step up in trip but should struggle to reverse terms with the likeable LIL ROCKERFELLER. He was second in the Stayer’s Hurdle at the Festival and kept on gamely to win over 2m 3f here on his latest start. He’ll be much happier up in trip and can deny the prolific Unowhatimeanharry, who won this race twelve months ago.
1 AGRAPART – Useful stayer on his day for Nick Williams, winner of the Relkeel Hurdle on New Year’s Day. Even that career best effort won’t see him getting involved here though and he’d ideally need far more rain to be seen to best effect. Can only be watched.
2 L’AMI SERGE – Serial second placer who has some smart form in the book, last seen finishing second to Lil Rockerfeller who had first run. He stays further and has his ground, so he shouldn’t be far away if a bit closer to the pack this time around.
3 LIL ROCKERFELLER – Runner up in the Stayer’s Hurdle at the Festival when only headed late on, returning this season when winning the Ascot Hurdle ahead of L’Ami Serge. He’ll be much happier up in trip and softer ground is ideal for him. He’s as game as they come and won’t be for denying here.
4 SAM SPINNER – Progressive five year old who posted a career best effort when winning a Grade 3 Handicap at Haydock last month. He made all to the tune of seventeen lengths and he once again gets ideal conditions here. More is required upped in grade, but he’s still unexposed and is a leading contender.
5 TAQUIN DU SEUIL – Made his reappearance in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury where he finished a gallant third, well held by Unowhatimeanharry. He’s still capable on his day but this looks tougher on paper and others are preferred on balance.
6 THE WORLDS END – Shaped as though he was a promising stayer last season, winning the Sefton at the Aintree Festival on his final start of last season. He was well beaten by Sam Spinner on return and although he should come on for that, he needs a career best by some margin to be involved here.
7 THOMAS CAMPBELL – Has found huge amount of improvement since being upped to the three mile trip, winning a Listed race comfortable on his latest start. He now steps up in grade once again and this progressive five year old couldn’t be discounted for a place with further improvement on his ideal ground.
8 UBAK – Beaten out of sight behind Unowhatimeanharry in November 2016 and he’s not been seen since, returning from a 393 day absence. He’s useful on his day but that absence raises question marks and he’s unlikely to be good enough at this level.
9 UNOWHATIMEANHARRY – Prolific winner who was one of the best in the division last season, winning the Champion Stayers at Punchestown in April. He was denied by a game front running performance latest but this consistent nine year old is a leading player on the best of his form.