Timeform take you through the runners for the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday.
"CUE CARD's outstanding 2015/16 started with a win in this race..."
Charlie Hall Chase 2016
Saturday October 29, 15:20
1. Cue Card
Back to very best last season, winning this race, Betfair Chase at Haydock, King George at Kempton and Bowl at Aintree. Had a couple of these rivals well behind him in last-named and impossible to oppose. Was also still going well when falling three out in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. Possibly found race coming too soon when disappointing at Punchestown when last seen in April but sets a high standard again here.
Top-class chaser who looked as good as ever aged 11 when winning a Grade 2 at Sandown for the third successive year last April. Perth second in June was another solid effort, and shaped as if still in form under top weight when fifth of 19 to Drop Out Joe in Summer Cup (Handicap) at Uttoxeter later that month, though did make a trademark jumping error at a vital stage.
3. Irish Cavalier
Highly-tried last term and benefited from the return to handicap company with a most authoritative success at Punchestown (2½m) in the spring. Below form when fifth of eight to Art Mauresque in handicap at Chepstow on return this month and needs a career-best effort returned to 3m.
Most progressive handicap chaser in first half of last season, completing hat-trick in listed event at Ascot (3m). Pulled up in both Grade 2 at Cheltenham and Bowl at Aintree on final two starts, however, and up against it here.
Sound jumper with a cracking attitude who won the Towton Novices' Chase over C&D and RSA at the Cheltenham Festival last season. Respectable third to Native River in Mildmay Novices Chase at Aintree on final start and should give it his all on this reappearance, though others hold stronger form claims.
Top class in his prime but has not won since the 2014 Ryanair Chase and well beaten (including back over hurdles) on all six starts after finishing three and three-quarter lengths second to Cue Card in this race 12 months ago. May struggle to beat Cue Card, but could be the one for the forecast.
Won four times (including Grade 2) as a novice chaser in 2014/15 and several good efforts when runner-up last term, in cheekpieces when beaten 12 lengths by Maggio in listed event at Aintree on final outing (possibly did too much too soon). Still only seven, so could have something more to offer.
Timeform Charlie Hall Chase 1-2-3:
1. Cue Card
Timeform Analyst's Verdict:
CUE CARD's outstanding 2015/16 started with a win in this race and he can kick off the new campaign in similar fashion. He was followed home by Dynaste 12 months ago and that gelding's good record at the start of the season means it would come as no surprise to see him beat the rest. Virak was most consistent last term and can take third place.