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Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill Jockey: Jonjo O’Neill Jr. Age: 9 Weight: 11st 12lbs
Big improver last term and has shaped quite well on both outings this term, going off too hard in his bid to defend his Ladbrokes Trophy crown at Newbury last time. Definite player down in grade.
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Trainer: Anthony Honeyball Jockey: Richie McLernon Age: 13 Weight: 11st 8lbs
Not the easiest to catch right but has become well handicapped and he has won this race twice in the past. Long in the tooth now, but can’t be completely dismissed.
Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: Daryl Jacob Age: 7 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Smart chaser who ran respectably in form terms when mid-field in a Cheltenham handicap on reappearance. Good enough to compete off this mark and cheekpieces might add some more zip.
Trainer: Mark Bradstock Jockey: Nico de Boinville Age: 11 Weight: 11st 5lbs
Looked as good as ever in late 2020, winning twice, and final outing at Cheltenham was a respectable sixth. Drop back in trip will help, although he’s likely to need this first run for 12 months.
Trainer: Harry Fry Jockey: Lorcan Murtagh Age: 8 Weight: 11st 2lbs
Fragile but talented sort who returned with a display of tentative jumping at Newbury on reappearance. Given a chance by the handicapper since, but hard to know if he’ll show up on his game.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Harry Cobden Age: 7 Weight: 11st 0lbs
Smart hurdler who has proved useful over fences and looked right back on his game when fourth in a Newbury handicap last time. Bold show likely if the race is run to suit.
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Trainer: Philip Hobbs Jockey: Tom O’Brien Age: 9 Weight: 11st 0lbs
Has enjoyed success at this track in the past but it’s drawn out flaws in his jumping on his last couple of visits, including over C&D 49 days ago. Not without a chance if he avoids errors.
Trainer: Mel Rowley Jockey: Mr Ben Bromley Age: 12 Weight: 11st 0lbs
Useful hurdler/chaser who ended his time for Nicky Henderson in good order, third at Perth 6 months ago. This is a tough assignment starting out for a new stable in a competitive event, though.
Trainer: Kerry Lee Jockey: Richard Patrick Age: 8 Weight: 10st 11lbs
Bold-jumping front-runner who scored twice at Cheltenham last season but needs to put a tame reappearance at that track behind him. Return to usual tactics should see him in a better light.
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Trainer: Venetia Williams Jockey: Charlie Deutsch Age: 10 Weight: 10st 11lbs
Well-in on old form and, while he’s been lightly raced in recent seasons, there was plenty of encouragement to be gleaned from his fourth in a handicap at Bangor on reappearance. Makes the shortlist.
Trainer: Evan Williams Jockey: Adam Wedge Age: 6 Weight: 10st 10lbs
Progressive over hurdles during 2019/20 and improved further over fences last term. Has returned in form over the smaller obstacles and could make an impact if his jumping holds up.
Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies Age: 7 Weight: 10st 8lbs
Improved with back-to-back 3m wins at Southwell and Ludlow in the spring. Placed both start this term but this looks a bit more competitive.
Trainer: Mark Campion Jockey: Tom Bellamy Age: 8 Weight: 10st 6lbs
Useful winning chaser for Gordon Elliott who was well below form starting out over hurdles for current stable at Aintree 13 months ago. Plenty to prove.
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Timeform Verdict: CLOTH CAP does most of his racing on left-handed tracks nowadays but he has run well here in the past and, down in grade, his bold-jumping style could have a number of these rivals in trouble early, so he’s worth chancing to hold off the closers at the business end. Grand Sancy looked right back in form last time, so he’s feared most, while Caribean Boy could benefit from first-time cheekpieces.
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