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DOES HE KNOW made it two-from-two over fences with a comfortable victory over this course and distance last month, already looking in control when he was left clear on the run-in. His jumping wasn’t entirely convincing at times, but it’s still early days in his chasing career and he is clearly going the right way. He is fancied to maintain his unbeaten record here before stepping up in grade later in the season.
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YALA ENKI filled the runner-up spot in this race 12 months ago, sticking to his task well to be beaten just a short head. He is only 1lb higher in the weights this year and there is every chance he’ll get an easy lead in this small field. This will be his first outing since unseating his rider in the Grand National, but he has often gone well fresh in the past and this looks a good opportunity for him to make a successful return to action.
NUBE NEGRA developed into a top-class chaser last season, producing his best effort when chasing home Put The Kettle On in the Queen Mother Champion Chase over this course and distance. He was beaten just half a length on that occasion and possibly would have finished closer still, but for pecking slightly at the last.
Nube Negra seems to go particularly well when fresh and the sound surface here will be his favour, so he is fancied to reverse the placings with Put The Kettle On to regain the winning thread.
GALICE MACALO shaped like a horse well ahead of her mark when fourth on her reappearance at Chepstow last month. She looked the likeliest winner for a long way before getting tired and losing a couple of places on the run-in, ultimately passing the post just over a length behind the winner.
That run is likely to bring her on and she can race from the same mark this time. A free-going sort, she will be suited by the demands of this race and the application of a first-time hood could also unlock a bit more improvement.
I LIKE TO MOVE IT is unbeaten in two starts over hurdles, making a winning debut at Worcester in October before following up over this course and distance later that month. He created a really good impression on the last occasion, hitting the front at the final flight and keeping going well to land the spoils by over 3 lengths. He should have more to offer as he gains in experience over hurdles and another bold bid is expected as he tries to make it three-from-three.
TIMEFORATUNE joined Paul Nicholls (bought for £175,000) after winning a bumper at Ffos Las in May for Brian Eckley. He made the perfect start for his new stable when following up in a similar event at Chepstow last month, showing a really good attitude to get the verdict by a neck. The first two pulled a long way clear of the rest and Timeforatune remains a horse to be positive about now stepping up to listed level.
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