Charlie Hall Chase 2018: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide
Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's Charlie Hall Chase, and pick out their 1-2-3...
"This ground much more to his liking and looks the one to beat."
Timeform on Black Corton
1. Definitly Red (Brian Ellison/Danny Cook)
High-class chaser who won Many Clouds Chase at Aintree and Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham (by eight lengths from American) in 2017/18. Unseated rider at the third in Bowl Chase won by Might Bite at Aintree final start. Thorough stayer who races prominently, though only third in this race last year and will need to make this a strong examination of stamina if he's to fare any better on this quicker ground.
2. Regal Encore (Anthony Honeyball/Richie McLernon)
Smart handicap chaser who won at favourite course Ascot (listed event by one and a half lengths from Minella Daddy) in 2017/18. Pulled up in bet365 Gold Cup when last seen in April. Usually races towards rear and hard to catch right, but still not totally out of it in this weak-looking Grade 2.
3. Virgilio (Dan Skelton/Bridget Andrews)
Very smart chaser who won handicap at Aintree (for second successive year, by length from Winter Lion) in May, and produced clear career-best effort when following up in 18-runner Summer Cup (Handicap) at Uttoxeter last time by three and three quarter lengths from former bet365 Gold Cup winner Henllan Harri, travelling smoothly and finding plenty from two out. Treated for post-race ataxia after, so hard to know whether race will have left its mark, but not one to take lightly on the crest of a wave.
4. Black Corton (Paul Nicholls/Bryony Frost)
Smart chaser who won a staggering eight times in 2017/18, including Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton (by one and a quarter lengths from Elegant Escape) and four-runner Reynoldstown Novices' Chase at Ascot (jumped well in lead to beat Ms Parfois by eight lengths). Not at best at Cheltenham or Aintree festivals thereafter, but seemed unsuited by testing conditions when fourth to Terrefort in Mildmay Novices' Chase final start. This ground much more to his liking and looks the one to beat.
5. Double Shuffle (Tom George/Adrian Heskin)
High-class chaser who produced standout effort when a length second to Might Bite in King George VI Chase at Kempton in 2017/18. Nowhere near that form in two starts after, including lacklustre effort when 12 and three quarter lengths fourth to Top Notch in Oaksey Chase at Sandown final start. Leading chance on ratings, and this small field should suit on his return to action, but best form has come going right-handed, and has finished second on all three occasions that he has had a break of more than six months.
Timeform's Charlie Hall Analyst Verdict
BLACK CORTON enjoyed a tremendous novice chase campaign under his in-form rider and it's not hard to envisage a big run from him on his return. Double Shuffle excelled himself when second, beaten just a length, in last season's King George and he could be the big danger.
Timeform's Charlie Hall 1-2-3
1. Black Corton
2. Double shuffle
3. Definitly Red