Clarence House Chase
Saturday, 20th January
Brain Power (Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville)
Excellent record going right-handed, handicap wins last season including listed race at Sandown and Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle at Ascot. Smart form over fences this term, winning novice at Kempton (by 28 lengths from War Sound) in November, though held when stumbled and unseated at the last in Henry VIII Novices' Chase won by Sceau Royal at Sandown last time. Remains open to improvement as a chaser, but likely faces a tough task keeping tabs on Un de Sceaux.
Kylemore Lough (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily)
Very smart chaser who produced a good effort when head second of seven to Royal Regatta in 1965 Chase here in 2016/17. Left Kerry Lee/off 8 months and in tongue strap, when shaping much better than result when pulled up in BetVictor Gold Cup won by Splash of Ginge at Cheltenham last time, tanking along and leading ninth until bad mistake next. Drop in trip here should be no issue, but likely playing for second.
San Benedeto (Paul Nicholls/Nick Scholfield)
Experienced and very smart handicap chaser who won six times during 2016/17, including Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree (by head from Forest Bihan). Stiff task when 12½ lengths fifth to Politologue in Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown last time and similar story here.
Speredek (Nigel Hawke/Sean Bowen)
Useful hurdler who took his form over fences to new level (well-backed) when winning four-runner handicap at Sandown last time by 8 lengths from Gino Trail, well on top at finish for all that winning margin probably flattered him a little. Progressive, but opposable in this company.
Un de Sceaux (Willie Mullins,Ireland/Paul Townend)
Top-class chaser who won Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, and Ryanair Chase (by 1½ lengths from Sub Lieutenant) at Cheltenham in 2016/17. Also won this race (for second successive year) last term, contest rerouted to Cheltenham after abandonment of this meeting. Made light of eight month absence when winning five-runner Hilly Way Chase at Cork last time by 25 lengths from Top Gamble, unchallenged. Largely more fluent jumper of fences nowadays and likely tough to beat in hat-trick bid.
Timeform Clarence House Chase 1-2-3
1. Un de Sceaux
2. Kylemore Lough
3. Brain Power
Timeform Clarence House Chase Analyst's Verdict
UN DE SCEAUX came clear unchallenged on his return at Cork and looks as good as ever. He can land this race for a second time. The very interesting alternative at the forecast prices is Kylemore Lough, who could relish the drop back in trip given how well he travels. Brain Power has the potential to take high rank in the 2m chase division and is also feared.