Showed ability on the Flat for Martyn Meade and made a promising start to his hurdling career, despite narrowly failing to justify favouritism at Warwick last month, on his first start for Nicky Henderson. He was just unable to reel in a race-fit rival who rather got the jump on him, but pulled clear of the rest of the field and looks very much the one to beat here.
Had an excellent campaign over hurdles last season, winning twice, and she proved better than ever on her latest outing at Cheltenham last month, finishing a clear second to an unexposed, well-handicapped rival. She is a highly likeable mare and, after a much better display of jumping last time, is a confident selection to gain a deserved first success of the season.
Showed promise on his chasing debut at Uttoxeter in October 2018 and built on that to get off the mark over this course and distance last month, brushing off a lengthy absence. Dashing Perk scored in a race that has produced a subsequent winner and three runners-up, and he is expected to shrug off a 6lb rise in the weights.
Mystical Clouds heads the list of dangers following his promising fourth at Leicester last month.
Locker Room Talk showed plenty to work on in his first couple of outings over fences and opened his account in this sphere when making all at Taunton last month. He is a free-going front runner who is open to further improvement and could get into a real rhythm around here.
Johnbb was much improved when landing a gamble over course and distance last month and is feared most ahead of Delire d’Estruval.
Son of Camas disappointed in a big-field Punchestown bumper in April but has looked a smart prospect since returning to action this term. He got off the mark in a Newbury bumper in November, having too much speed for his rivals, and built on that when beating a couple of useful prospects in a maiden hurdle. He remains with considerable potential and is fancied to provide Nicky Henderson with another win in this Grade 1.
Fiddlerontheroof boasts some strong form after scoring with minimum fuss over this course and distance last month and is a leading danger, as is Hang In There, who sets the standard based on his Sharp Novices’ Hurdle win at Cheltenham in November.
Jepeck ran a career-best when runner-up to subsequent Scottish National winner Takingrisks at Carlisle in March and has been in good form in novice hurdles this season, winning two of his three starts. Anthony Honeyball’s 11-year-old rarely runs a bad race over fences and is likely to go close.
The low-mileage Burtons Well made light of a 22-month absence to score at Aintree in October and also needs to be considered, while Dark Flame proved he retains the bulk of his ability when runner-up over course and distance in November and is another to be taken seriously.
Totterdown showed much-improved form on his first start for Fergal O’Brien, bolting up from the front in a handicap over this course and distance in November. He was value for more than the ten- length winning margin as he was eased down after the last, having been 20 lengths clear, so even a 12lb rise may not be enough to stop him.