DANSE IDOL did nothing but improve last season. She kicked off with a win over course and distance before holding her own in Listed and Graded company.
The campaign finished with an easy win at Fontwell. She’s had a breathing operation since then and has more to come for Paul Nicholls.
Deputy’s Oscar is going up in class but with good reason after winning with plenty in hand a couple of times at Market Rasen already this autumn.
She’s had just three runs over timber so is on the upgrade. Organdi is another taking a hike in grade after a couple of good efforts this term. She sees out this trip well and quickened nicely when scoring at Ludlow last month.
Empreinte Reconce steps up in distance after a solid comeback at Fontwell. She won a couple of times at Newton Abbot in August and has place claims despite climbing the weights.
Misty Bloom looks a solid each-way bet. She has a capable claimer on board and looked a nice prospect when winning at Warwick two runs ago. She didn’t match that at Ludlow latest but could easily bounce back.
Sixty’s Belle had plenty in hand when scoring at Newton Abbot and can’t be ruled out despite a six-month break.
RESERVE TANK won the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown in May and showed promise on his chasing debut at Chepstow last month.
He was pitched into a Listed contest and shaped well enough in second when the lack of a recent run was telling. His jumping was sound and he should build on that encouraging start.
If You Say Run didn’t scale the same heights as a hurdler but was impressive when winning on her chase debut at Worcester. She gets a weight allowance here which could come in handy in a tight finish.
Solomon Grey has done well to win both his chase outings and has had a wind operation since scoring at Uttoxeter in May. He’s entitled to need this comeback but looks capable of further improvement.
Le Musee was well below par when pulled up at Perth last time. He did win at the track by 12 lengths before that so can be forgiven that poor showing but appears to need more.
Commanche Red jumped well on his chase debut at Warwick but this looks a lot tougher.
Garo De Juilley didn’t land a blow in the mud at Cheltenham last time but may do better in these quicker conditions.
FUSIL RAFFLES looks different class to these rivals. He already has a Grade 1 win to his name from the Punchestown Festival in May. He scooted away from his rivals there to score with plenty in hand.
That built on a Grade 2 success in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton in February. He gets valuable weight from his main rival Grand Sancy who took a tumble on comeback last month.
The Paul Nicholls runner struggled in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on his final start of last term.
On the plus side, he won the Kingwell Hurdle over this course and distance in February on similar ground to today. He looks the main threat but has plenty of improvement to find.
Stablemate Christopher Wood found the Swinton Hurdle too hot last time but was a solid third in an Aintree Grade 1 at the Grand National meeting.
He’s had just four runs over timber so could have more to offer. Brandon Castle won three on the spin before being outclassed at Cheltenham.
He goes well fresh and can win again when his sights are lowered. Beat The Judge clocked a personal best when second in a Kempton Listed contest last month but this is asking for more again.
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THE YOUNG MASTER is consistent in races like this and can go close at rewarding odds. He’s been on the go for a few years but was as good as ever last term with a third in the Kim Muir and a second in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.
He is fit from a spin on the Flat and is handicapped for another big run. Present Man is looking for a hat-trick of wins in this race and will have been trained to the minute by Paul Nicholls.
This doesn’t look any stronger than the two renewals he won and he won’t be far away. Just A Sting is another who could have this as his cup final.
He did well early last season and comes back just 3lb higher than his last win. This trip is fine and he could have more to offer as a seven-year-old.
Give Me A Copper has flattered to deceive a little but has few miles on the clock for his age and Nicholls has made a flying start to the season.
White Moon needs to bounce back from a late fall here last time but it’s early days as a chaser for him and connections are confident of improvement.
THE LAST DAY finished last season with a barnstorming win at Carlisle and has a bright future over fences. He keeps it simple from the front and enjoys soft ground so Aintree in the mud should be right up his street. He looks on a fair weight and is the one to beat.
Baby King can be hit and miss but he got his act together when scoring at Ludlow last time out in April. He’s gone up just 1lb for that and won this race two years ago so trip and track suit too.
Theflyingportrait won with plenty in hand on comeback at Kelso before a puzzling effort at Wetherby last time off this mark. He has plenty of experience around this speed track and often runs well here.
Charmant took a tumble at Carlisle last time but that was a rare blip as he won three of his previous four chase outings. He is 6lb higher than his last win but goes well in soft ground.
Solar Impulse likes a flat track and was a solid second at Kempton latest. He’s won off much higher marks in the past but is inconsistent these days.
THE RUSSIAN DOYEN was unlucky to only finish fourth in the Close Brothers Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last time out. He travelled well for a long way and wasn’t helped by a stumble on the level climbing the final hill.
Before that he won with plenty in hand at Newbury and is only 2lb higher today. Aintree should suit and he’s gone well fresh so his eight months off isn’t a worry.
Cepage is another coming back from a long break but trainer Venetia Williams can get them ready at home.
He was last seen finishing second in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham last December and that’s strong form. He has few miles on the clock and can improve.
Duke Street won well over hurdles at Prestbury Park latest but scored on his last chase outing and likes this trip. He’s a threat as is Riders On the Storm who is interesting on his first run for Nigel Twiston-Davies. There have been excuses for his past two poor efforts and he has potential.
Oldgrangewood was well backed before a modest run here last time. He went close at Grade 3 level before that and has had a breathing operation which could set him right.
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DIOMEDE DES MOTTES is dropping in class after a good fourth in a Chepstow Grade 2 last time. Maybe he was being ridden for a place as he came from a long way back as the race was won up front.
He earlier landed a cosy win at Southwell on comeback where the soft ground suited well. He looks on a fair mark for this return to handicap level.
Vive Le Roi should be fitter for his comeback third at Stratford last month. He will find this easier than the Grade 3 he tackled at the Grand National meeting.
Skandiburg went close at Market Rasen after a solid win at Huntingdon. He clearly likes a flat track like this and should be a player.
Rosy World shapes as though this longer trip will suit after finishing well over 2m4f at Plumpton on comeback. She could be a step ahead of the handicapper.
Jacks Last Hope likes it here and battled on well to win at Wetherby latest. This is tougher but a 4lb rise for that looks fair.
Potters Corner landed a couple of chase wins last term before running over hurdles in France to finish his campaign. Staying is his forte and he could run into a place if fit enough on comeback.
1.50 Danse Idol
2.25 Reserve Tank
3.00 Fusil Raffles
3.35 The Young Master
4.10 Confirmation Bias
12.20 Follow The Bear
12.55 Mossy Fen
1.30 THE LAST DAY (NAP)
2.05 The Russian Doyen (treble)
2.40 Diomede Des Mottes
3.50 Quick Draw
12.10 Get Help (nb)
12.45 Oscar Ceremony
1.20 Total Assets
2.30 Ain’t My Fault
3.05 Highway Companion
3.40 Exelerator Express
4.40 Clipsham Tiger
5.40 Lexington Flair
6.10 Wadacre Galoubet
6.40 Poeta Brasiliero
7.10 Sommer Katze
7.40 Grazeon Roy
8.10 Ginger Max