Pogue cost £100,000 after winning an Irish point and shaped with promise over hurdles, finishing placed on all four occasions. He produced his best effort yet when second on his chasing debut at Catterick last month (first start since undergoing a breathing operation), simply bumping into an unexposed four-year-old who showed improved form.
Pogue could still have more to offer in this sphere and can get off the mark under Rules.
Papa Tango Charly fetched £440,000 after winning his point and, while he failed to meet expectations on his bumper debut, he has shaped with promise on both starts over hurdles, running to a level that marks him down as the one to beat.
He was beaten only be a smart prospect at Newbury last time and remains open to plenty of improvement – so is expected to score here.
This is a competitive event and a case can be made for plenty, including the veteran Duke of Navan, who won this in 2018. Duke of Navan may now be a 12-year-old but he shaped with promise at Wetherby in November, performing better than the distance beaten would suggest having moved smoothly into contention.
He is entitled to come on for that outing and should give a good account.
Galice Macalo shaped with promise on her debut at Stratford, holding her own until a lack of fitness seemed to tell, and she was in the process of showing much improved form when departing at the final flight in a listed event at Aintree last time.
She made smooth headway on the bridle and was still about half a length up and had yet to be asked for her full effort when coming down. This looks a good opportunity for her to gain some compensation and she is expected to make amends.
France de Reve was a comfortable winner of a bumper in France and was subsequently bought by J.P. McManus and sent to Nicky Henderson. However, she failed to meet expectations on her hurdling debut at Uttoxeter, making mistakes and offering no threat.
She clearly learned plenty from that outing, though, as she showed much better form at Taunton last time, keeping on well to finish runner-up, and she is entitled to take another step forward.
Wakool showed fairly useful form in France and, while he has only run to a modest level over hurdles, he remains capable of better. He looked rusty on his hurdles debut (and first start since being gelded) at Musselburgh in November, but produced a more encouraging effort last month, his prospects not helped by a significant mistake.
He goes handicapping from a fair mark, receives a healthy weight-for-age allowance and should go well.
Supreme Escape showed improved form to finish a close-up fourth on his handicap debut at Chepstow last time, seemingly benefiting from the step up to three miles. His hurdling was better than it had been on his previous start and he looks well treated having been left on the same mark.
He is also entitled to have improved for that effort, bearing in mind it was just his third start over hurdles.