Alan Thompson has identified two chasers to follow, one at Ascot in the big handicap and the other in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock...
"He is back over his favourite distance and it would be no surprise if he takes another step forward here, as he looks a class above"
Expect more improvement from Magic Saint
Magic Saint produced a career best performance at Cheltenham last week and Paul Nicholls' (read what Paul says here) yard are in top form. He's up 7lbs for that victory but he looked to be worth every pound of that increase and this field is nothing like as deep.
He is back over his favourite distance and it would be no surprise if he takes another step forward here, as he looks a class above. I suspect this will be his last run in this sort of company and he should have things set up perfectly for him today by the front running pair of First Flow and Gino Trail.
The Nicholls team won this race last year with Capeland and he could be the one to chase home his stable mate. He didn't jump too fluently on his reappearance when failing to complete the trip here on Halloween. However, they have put some cheekpieces on to sharpen his jumping up and that may well have the desired effect.
Bristol De Mai can go one better than last year
The lovable grey Bristol De Mai didn't get his head in front last season but he can put that right at his favourite track (winning four and a second on his five visits) under these conditions. Last year he had a bit of an interrupted preparation for this due to lameness problems and he may not have been at his best. Despite these setbacks he still finished runner up to Lostintranslation but that rival had already had a prep run, something he lacks this time around. I think Nigel Twiston-Davies gets him here a better horse this year and he's still only nine, doesn't have too many runs each season and I think there's still something left in the tank.
This is another cracking renewal of this race, obviously last year's winner, Lostintranslation, has a big chance especially if he jumps the way he did last year and then subsequently just as well in defeat in the Gold Cup when last seen. But that lack of a prep race may just see him vulnerable this time around.
Clan Des Obeaux is Paul Nicholls entry, the dual King George winner has recently had a wind operation and is another major threat. It should be a great spectacle with all these superstars but I just think on this track, over this trip in these conditions Bristol De Mai can win this again for the third time.
2020 (prior to this week) : -3.71pts
This week so far...
Staked: 10 Pts
Returned: 11.1 pts
2020 P&L -2.61 pts
2019 P&L +0.31 pts
2018 P&L +82.29 pts
2017 P&L +53.30 pts
2016 P&L +15.23 pts
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