Demachine was just a fair maiden over hurdles last season, but he is bred to make a better chaser – his dam is closely related to top-class chaser Sub Lieutenant and is a half-sister to Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere – and he duly showed much-improved form to make a winning start over fences at Uttoxeter last month.
He beat an impressive next-time-out winner easily that day, so a subsequent 10 lb rise in the weights looks fully justified, and Demachine should have plenty more to offer in this sphere.
Paul Nicholls won this race 12 months ago with Cyrname and looks to have another leading chance with stable debutant Real Steel. He is a high-class chaser at best who won a couple of Grade 2s in Ireland for Willie Mullins last season before running a cracking race to finish sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on his final start. Still only a seven-year-old, there could be more to come from Real Steel having switched yards, while he also sets the standard on Timeform weight-adjusted ratings, too.
First Flow was a smart novice chaser last season, holding his form incredibly well and notching up four wins, notably a handicap at Leicester by 17 lengths from a 7lb lower mark. He mopped up a couple of easy races at the backend of the season and rates the type that will have even more to offer this season.
First Flow looks on a handy mark and, given his stable are in good form, he makes plenty of appeal on his return to action in the second of Paddy Power’s Millionaire qualifier races.
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