IN SUMMARY: Shantou Rock will blaze the trail out in front and that should set this up perfectly for THE UNIT, who will love a strong test at this distance. Granted, the former did beat him on his chasing debut, but he had excuses and ran a cracker behind two smart rivals on his latest start. He shaped as though there was far more to come from him that day and he should be very tough to beat.
1 CYRNAME – Lightly raced over timber but has transformed himself since going over fences, showing markedly better form. He won his chasing debut in good style and wasn’t disgraced at Newbury on his latest start. More is required in a tougher race and although he’s still low mileage, others are preferred.
2 KOSTAQUATRA – Ten year old who has shown very little over fences in the context of this race, well beaten in a Class 5 Handicap at Worcester in September 2016. He’s got a long absence to overcome and regardless, he’s hopelessly outclassed in this field.
3 SHANTOU ROCK – Bold front-runner for Dan Skelton who won emphatically on chasing debut when beating dismissing The Unit (had excuses). He was a shade disappointing when second at Warwick on his latest start, going off too quickly. He will once again give this a good go from the front and as he’s still low mileage, he holds leading claims.
4 THE UNIT – Useful six year old who has posted two similar efforts over fences thus far, holding excuses when beaten by Shantou Rock on chasing debut. A return to two miles looks to be in his favour on this ground and there should be far more to come from him over these obstacles. Should be tough to beat as the form of his latest start has been franked.
5 TOMMY SILVER – Unchallenged when scoring on his second chasing start at Leicester last month, disappointing at short odds when second at Bangor in December. He now faces a tougher task but he remains with potential and there could be better to come with time. His jumping continues to improve and he’s a leading contender.