It may be an unoriginal fancy but I think Any Second Now will make amends this year. He was desperately unlucky in the race last year in my view. A bad jumping error at the 10th cost him a bit of ground after being prominent from the start and then he was badly hampered and nearly unseated rider at a crucial stage of the race. After losing many lengths, he still found the courage and ability to somehow be in second at the elbow after being ninth only two from home. He finished third but it was a hell of a run. A winner of his prep for this, he is the one to beat even though he is carrying more weight. – Adrian Wall
A race won in recent years by younger, classier types and Longhouse Poet certainly fits that bill. He is inexperienced over fences but he landed an almighty gamble when winning the Thyestes at Gowran Park in January. His trainer Martin Brassil won that contest with Numbersixvalverde before winning the Grand National 15 months later so perhaps i’m a year too early with Longhouse Poet but the impression he gives is one of a dour stayer. He beat Run Wild Fred in a novice chase over 3m1f at Punchestown in December 2020, picking that rival up on the run-in. He got up late on at Gowran over the same trip, looking sure to improve for a marathon distance for the first time. – Matt Newman
Longhouse Poet has been campaigned with this race in mind all season. You can ignore his pretty average run over hurdles last time out as that race would have only been a sharpener for this. Four of the last six renewals have been won by eight-year-olds and he fits this profile. The only negative is that he has had just six chase starts but in that time he has won the Thyestes and beaten Run Wild Fred in a novice chase. A positive way of viewing this inexperience is that he should be unexposed still. There’s no guarantees in this game but Martin Brassil’s gelding has the right profile for this unique test. – Liam Bramall
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