This looks an exciting renewal of the Old Roan in which Frodon returns to defend his crown. However, he is 11 lb higher in the weights this time round, and has to give a stone to the younger and more progressive Kalashnikov, who enjoyed the greatest day of his short career when winning the Manifesto Novices’ Chase over this course and distance on his final start last season. Unexposed at this trip, he should prove too classy for these, and is strongly fancied to make a winning reappearance.
Next Best bet
Jeremy Scott has his string in good order at present and there is a chance that the handicapper has let Hey Bud in lightly from an opening mark of 124. He continued the theme of run-to-run progression when opening his account over hurdles in a novice over this trip at Wincanton on his final start last season. That form is solid if not spectacular, but Hey Bud should have even more to offer this term and may be underestimated by the market, with some ‘sexier’ types in the field.
Each Way Bet
This looks a competitive race of its type and one which is sure to throw up multiple future winners. One who is likely going to be backable at an each-way price is the Tom Lacey-trained Lossiemouth, who was a useful two-time winner in bumpers last season. He is a Flat-bred gelding, and looks a bizarrely strong stayer given his pedigree, but has the scope for jumping, and hails from a yard that do well with such types.