A number of these hold solid claims but Champagne Well’s third in a typically-strong renewal of the EBF Final at Sandown in March is the best form on offer. He makes his return with the Fergal O’Brien stable in good form. He has other pieces of form which also read well and can get off the mark over hurdles. Doctor Duffy was a comfortable winner at Navan last time and is high on the list of dangers.
This features a fascinating clash between chasing debutants Al Dancer and Getaway Trump and it is the latter who edges the vote. Al Dancer was an impressive winner of the Betfair Hurdle – which was run at Ascot this year – while Getaway Trump could finish only fourth.
However, Getaway Trump went on to prove himself a smart hurdler, showing much-improved form on his final start of the campaign at Sandown to defy a BHA mark of 147 in fine style.
He is an exciting recruit to chasing.
Tedham failed to meet expectations in a competitive Aintree handicap hurdle on his final start last season. However, a lack of match practice – he had been off for three months beforehand – and a serious mistake at the sixth offers mitigation, and he is worth another chance to show he is well handicapped.
The form of his Wincanton win has worked out nicely, the Jonjo O’Neill yard are in flying form and Tedham remains with untapped potential.
Wholestone was the best of these over hurdles and completed a simple task on his chasing debut at Perth with the minimum of fuss. He clearly goes well at this track – he won three Grade 2s over hurdles and finished third in the 2018 Stayers’ Hurdle – and can make his class tell.
Dinons was prolific over hurdles – he rattled up a five-timer last season – and has made an excellent start over fences, winning on three occasions. His wide-margin win at Limerick represents the best chase form on offer and he can take advantage should Wholestone fail to fire.
Fred has twice finished runner-up over hurdles at Auteuil, showing fairly useful form, and he is capable of better having joined Nicky Henderson’s powerhouse stable. Fellow French recruit Cap du Mathan is considered the greatest danger.
He too finished runner-up at Auteuil last time and has also joined a top trainer in Paul Nicholls.
The form of Mr Mafia’s Newton Abbot success has been given a couple of boosts and he looks set to give another good account. He has progressed well over fences this season and put in a superb display of jumping to score at Newton Abbot, galloping his rivals into submission.
His assured stamina and proficient jumping will stand him in good stead at this demanding course.
Oakley hasn’t been seen since winning on his handicap debut at Kempton in January, but he created a good impression that day and is fancied to pick up where he left off. He has progressed with each of his four runs over hurdles and can do better still. He gets the verdict over Whoshotthesheriff, who makes his handicap debut off a fair-looking mark.
*Prices correct at time of publishing