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The form standard is set by SCARLET DANCER, but he’s only a tentative selection as once-raced rivals Noteable (second choice) and Zulu Tracker are open to significant improvement, while Lordman has possibilities dropped in trip.
Last year’s winner Alignak will surely go well again if tuned up after an absence, but preference is for the durable ALOUNAK who looks well worth another crack at a Listed race following some fine efforts in handicaps. Throne Hall has a bit to find on the figures, but should be on the premises too.
The lightly raced MR CURIOSITY is open to improvement and has to be respected. Hochfeld has an impressive record at Chester and completes the shortlist alongside Au Clair De Lune.
A lower draw would have been preferable, but CATCH CUNNINGHAM shaped as if he’d be winning a nursery before long when a close third at Beverley, and he gets the verdict. A case can be constructed for most of the others, with Instinctive Move perhaps the main threat ahead of Russellinthebushes.
It’s well over two years since the front-running MAJOR JUMBO (NAP) kept his head in front, but this looks a good opportunity. He’s down in grade, runs off his lowest mark since 2017 and has a fine record at Chester. Course specialist Powerallied could be the main danger from the inside stall, with Abate another to consider.
The progressive SPIRIT DANCER is respected on his return from break, as is Victory Chime who went very close at Sandown last time. Spirit Dancer gets the nod ahead of Palavecino, who also likes Chester.
In an open finale, a chance is taken with KALEIDOSCOPIC, who should find this opposition less taxing after contesting a Listed race and four Class 2 events on her last five starts. Heading the list of dangers is Zambezi Magic who looked firmly on the way back last time. Handicap debutant Flatley and course and distance winner Bit Of A Quirke are others to consider.
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