1 - YALA ENKI
Useful-looking gelding: winning hurdler: very smart handicap chaser: won at Bangor (by nose from Sir Mangan) in November: 12/1, better than ever when 5¼ lengths third of 20 to Elegant Escape in Welsh Grand National at Chepstow last time, never far away and jumping well: stays 29f: acts on heavy going: tried in cheekpieces: front runner/races prominently: tends to sweat.
2 - BALLYOPTIC
Well-made gelding: smart hurdler: smart chaser: won novice at Exeter and Towton Novices' Chase at Wetherby (by 2¾ lengths from Vintage Clouds) in 2017/18: best effort when nose second of 29 to Joe Farrell in Scottish Grand National at Ayr on final start of season: 20/1, probably still needed run when 26½ lengths sixth of 20 to Elegant Escape in Welsh Grand National at Chepstow last time: stays 4m: acts on heavy going: has worn tongue tie, including latest start.
3 - ROYAL VACATION
Useful-looking gelding: winning hurdler: smart chaser: off 6 weeks, 7/1, at least as good as ever when won 7-runner minor event at Taunton last time by 6 lengths from The Last Samuri, produced to lead before last: stays 3½m: acts on heavy going: usually wears headgear: has worn tongue tie.
Royal Vacation wins the Weatherbys Portman Cup Chase pic.twitter.com/DHZRSAhfDG— Taunton Racecourse (@TauntonRacing) January 19, 2019
4 - WAKANDA
Sturdy gelding: winning hurdler: smart handicap chaser: won Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster (by head from Warriors Tale) in 2017/18: 6/1, as good as ever when also won 11-runner Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock last time by 1¾ lengths from Robinsfirth, staying on to lead run-in and driven out: stays 3¼m: acts on good to firm and heavy going: tough and genuine.
Leggy gelding: has had breathing operation: maiden hurdler: smart chaser: won handicap at Chepstow (by 2½ lengths from Prime Venture) in December: 10/1, shaped well when 1¼ lengths second of 20 to Elegant Escape in Welsh Grand National at same course last time, doing well to get so close after bad mistake 4 out: stays 29f: acts well on heavy going: wears tongue tie: usually travels strongly.
6 - ROBINSFIRTH
Rangy gelding: winning hurdler: smart chaser: won Grade 3 handicap at Cheltenham (by 2 lengths from Shanroe Santos) in 2017/18: off 13 months, 7/1, good 1¾ lengths second of 11 to Wakanda in Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock last time: stays 3¼m: acts on heavy going: in tongue tie last 3 starts: strong traveller.
7 - VIEUX LION ROUGE
Lengthy gelding: winning hurdler: smart handicap chaser: best recent effort when 4½ lengths second of 18 to Walk In The Mill in Becher Chase at Aintree on return: possibly found race coming too soon when pulled up in Welsh Grand National last time, whilst almost certainly doing too much too soon: stays 3½m: acts on heavy going: wears headgear: has worn tongue tie, including last 2 starts.
8 - RED INFANTRY
Stocky gelding: fairly useful handicap hurdler: useful chaser: won handicap at Haydock (by 2¾ lengths from Bishops Road) in November: 7/1, good 6 lengths fifth of 11 to Wakanda in Peter Marsh Chase there last time, headed approaching 2 out: stays 29f: acts on heavy going: wears headgear: often leads.
9 - THE TWO AMIGOS
Stocky gelding: fair form over hurdles: useful form over fences: won novice handicap at Newton Abbot in October and handicap at Exeter (by 3¾ lengths from Garrane) in December: 11/8, followed up in 8-runner handicap at Plumpton last time by 2¼ lengths from Calin du Brizais, again looking very straightforward: left David Pipe after final (2017/18) start: stays 31f: acts on heavy going: has worn tongue tie: usually leads, strong traveller and sound jumper: may do better still over fences.
10 - BALLYARTHUR
Tall gelding: Irish point winner: winning hurdler: useful handicap chaser: 16/1, good 4¼ lengths fourth of 11 to Wakanda in Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock last time, holding slight advantage when untidy last: stays 3¼m: acts on heavy going: usually tongue tied.
11 - IMPULSIVE STAR
Well-made gelding: won maiden on point debut: winning hurdler: useful form over fences: 8/1, improved when won 12-runner Classic Chase at Warwick last time by 3¼ lengths from Calett Mad, regaining lead run in and staying on well: stays 4m: acts on heavy going: sometimes in cheekpieces: front runner/races prominently: one to treat with caution.
12 - CAROLE'S DESTRIER
Well-made gelding: winning hurdler: useful handicap chaser: won at Newbury (by ¾ length from Ballydine) in December: 12/1, creditable 8¾ lengths fourth of 12 to Impulsive Star in Classic Chase at Warwick last time: stays 29f: acts on heavy going: often wears cheekpieces.
Carole's Destrier wins for the first time since 2015 in the Betway Mandarin Handicap Chase in a thrilling finish!— Racing TV (@RacingTV) December 29, 2018
Remember, you can watch all the finishes from Kelso and Newbury for free in our results and replay section 👉👉 https://t.co/7iJOPsdIyZ pic.twitter.com/yvoHTaLfaO
13 - BISHOPS ROAD
Compact gelding: winning hurdler: useful handicap chaser: best recent effort when 2¾ lengths second of 8 to Red Infantry at Haydock last time, despite making chance-ending mistake last: again jumped poorly when pulled up last time: stays 3½m: acts on heavy going: wears headgear/tongue tie: often races prominently.
14 - AH LITTLELUCK
Compact gelding: useful handicap hurdler: won at Fairyhouse (by 5½ lengths from Miles To Memphis) in 2017/18: fair form over fences: off 4 months, 7/2, won 7-runner maiden at Navan last time by 9½ lengths from Frankly All Talk, going best when left in front 2 out: stays 25f: acts on good to firm and heavy going: wears tongue tie.
15 - POBBLES BAY
Good-topped gelding: fairly useful hurdler: off 7 months, strong 7/2, probably better for run when 11 lengths third of 7 to Buckhorn Timothy in handicap at Ffos Las last time, finding less than looked likely: useful chaser: shaped well when failing to stay in Welsh National last season: stays 3¼m: raced only on soft/heavy going: often races in rear.
16 - CHEF D'OEUVRE
Useful-looking gelding: winning hurdler: fairly useful handicap chaser: 7/1, won 10-runner event at Haydock last time by 2¾ lengths from Back To The Thatch, leading when not fluent last and keeping on well: left Warren Greatrex after final (2017/18) start: stays 27f: acts on heavy going: has worn headgear: usually leads: has shown signs of temperament but doing little wrong for current yard.
Chef D'Oeuvre, translated to masterpiece, is the master of Haydock this afternoon as he stays on for victory in the Last Fling Handicap Chase for Sam and Jonathan England 👏 pic.twitter.com/JgIZteOq3M— Haydock Park Races (@haydockraces) December 30, 2018
RAMSES DE TEILLEE acquitted himself really well faced with a stiffer stamina test in the Welsh National, recovering from a jolting error to finish a fine second to Elegant Escape. This has been the likely target since and he makes plenty of appeal. In what looks a strong renewal there are plenty of dangers, however, with Robinsfirth, Chef d'oeuvre and Impulsive Star particularly respected.