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FRANKINCENSE resumed his progress to get off the mark over hurdles at Exeter in November, staying on strongly to win by 5-and-a-half lengths. That race is working out well, with the second and third both winning next-time-out.
The strength of that form suggests Frankincense could still be well treated from only 6lbs higher, and this looks a good opportunity for him to follow up if ready to go after more than two months on the sidelines.
AMOOLA GOLD has been at the top of his game in three starts this season, recording back-to-back wins and then producing a career best when beaten only narrowly at Ascot last time. He arguably shaped even better than the bare result at Ascot, looking unlucky not to win after being left with too much to do.
This will be tougher after another 5lbs rise in the weights, but he looks sure to give another good account for Dan and Harry Skelton, who have an impressive 25% strike rate when teaming up at Warwick in recent seasons.
NEXT DESTINATION ran to a high level when making a successful chasing debut in a Grade 2 at Newbury in November, beating four rivals who all had the benefit of previous experience over fences. Settled just behind the leader in the early stages, Next Destination jumped soundly and stayed on strongly after hitting the front two out – ultimately winning by a length-and-a-quarter from One For The Team. He remains open to more improvement and is fancied to defy a 7lbs penalty to follow up before heading to the Cheltenham Festival.
MAKE ME A BELIEVER stepped up on his hurdling debut to open his account at Cheltenham last month, rallying gamely on the run-in to beat Any News by a length. The first two pulled well clear of the rest in a good time (0.5 seconds quicker than the handicap over the same course and distance later on the card), which provides further substance to the form. Make Me A Believer looks sure to go on improving too, so he is a confident selection to take the step up in grade here in his stride, with the longer trip unlikely to be an issue.
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NOTACHANCE found another jolt of improvement after 10 months off when successful at Bangor last time, staying on strongly to win by nearly 4 lengths. That race came over 3m, which is still the longest trip Notachance has encountered, but he leaves the impression he’ll relish the opportunity to tackle this sort of distance.
He remains unexposed as a chaser in general – not only over marathon trips – and a 7lbs higher mark than last time looks fair in a race where most of his rivals hold few secrets from the handicapper.
COME ON TEDDY took a big step forward to run out a convincing winner of a competitive handicap at Cheltenham last time. Held up in the early stages, he made smooth headway to lead at the last and kept on well on the run-in to win by 3 lengths (he was value for extra).
He is only 7lbs higher here and should mount a bold-bid to follow up if continuing to go the right way, with victory here likely to guarantee him a run in the Final of this series at the Cheltenham Festival.
GOLD BULLION looks the part on paper for his powerful connections, representing the Paul Nicholls yard that continues in red-hot form (nine winners from last 23 runners). Bought for €90,000 as a three-year-old, Gold Bullion is related to plenty of winners under Rules – including the high-class hurdler Crystal d’Ainay. He should have a good future over jumps and is one to look out for in a bumper where market support for any of them could prove significant.
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