NAP: Hitman still has huge potential
Hitman - 13:55 Exeter
Hitman developed into a smart novice chaser last season, winning twice and producing another encouraging performance when last seen finishing third in a Grade 1 at Aintree in April. He has undergone wind surgery since then and the drop back in trip also looks a good move here in a fascinating renewal of the Haldon Gold Cup.
Still just a five-year-old, Hitman should have more to offer over fences and a BHA mark of 151 is potentially very lenient. Crucially, he receives 17 lb from stablemate Greaneteen, who won this race 12 months ago. On those terms, he stands out as the leading contender from the Paul Nicholls yard which has won the Haldon Gold Cup seven times in total and three times since 2015.
NEXT BEST: Threeunderthrufive worth following
Threeunderthrufive - 14:25 Exeter
Threeunderthrufive shaped encouragingly when filling the runner-up spot on his chasing debut at Chepstow last month, sticking to his task well to pass the post only five and a half lengths behind the useful winner Does He Know. He left the impression the run would bring him on, too, in terms of both experience and fitness.
That form sets the standard in this line-up, while the small 'p' attached to his Timeform rating denotes that he is likely to progress further. Therefore, Threeunderthrufive rates a confident selection to open his account over fences at the second attempt and add to the four wins he registered over hurdles last season.
EACH-WAY: Poppa Poutine looks a big player
Poppa Poutine - 14:55 Exeter
Poppa Poutine won two of his five starts over hurdles last season, showing fairly useful form in the process. He now makes the switch to chasing and could be worth siding with from a BHA mark of 126.
After all, Poppa Poutine is only 4 lb higher in the weights than when recording his last victory over hurdles and his previous experience in Irish points (runner-up on his sole start) suggests he could be the type to take his form up another notch in this sphere.