PRESENT MAN was below his best at Warwick in November, yet that came on the back of another solid display in the Badger Ales previously and, having been given time since, he may well get back to winning ways now (boasts a good record fresh). Sir Ivan is going through a consistent spell and is feared, along with West Approach and likeable front-runner Valadom.
MY DROGO had subsequent Betfair Hurdle winner Soaring Glory comfortably held back in third when landing the Grade 2 Kennel Gate at Ascot in December, so with the prospect of more to come now stepping up in trip, he's fancied to concede weight all round and maintain his unbeaten record over hurdles. Any News, Lucky One and Bareback Jack are all interesting rivals, though.
UMBRIGADO is very much a chaser on the up and gets the nod to defy the handicapper with this return to a longer trip in his favour. The opposite applies to Senior Citizen, who didn't get home over 21f on very testing ground in the Grand Sefton and can make his presence felt from this mark back over shorter. Paul Nicholls is seeking a sixth win in this since 2012 so Grand Sancy is also respected.
MEGA YEATS looks thrown in on the pick of her form and may even have more to offer after just 5 hurdle starts, so she easily makes the most appeal having warmed up nicely for this with a good run in a jumpers bumper at Kempton last month. Flash Collonges won with authority at Wincanton last time and is an interesting handicap debutant, as is Sail Away for the Skeltons.
WYNN HOUSE ran well against the boys in a Grade 2 novice at Cheltenham in December and can resume winning ways back in mares' company. Stuart Edmonds' pair Go Millie Go and Airgead Suas can give her most to think about.
A fascinating listed event featuring some Grand National hopefuls but Venetia Williams' former Ryannair runner-up ASO is favoured by these weights and the one to be on after his resurgent Warwick second. Definitly Red landed this prize 12 months ago and is sure to go well again despite being seen only twice since, while fellow Aintree contenders Lake View Lad and Cloth Cap are much respected too.
Irish-raider THE SHUNTER did the job well when scoring at Cheltenham on his latest start in this sphere in November, and subsequently lost not caste in defeat in a big-field handicap chase at Leoparstown. He remains open to improvement and should prove a tough nut to crack. Solo will be a threat off this reduced mark if able to bounce back, while Tommy's Oscar and Hunters Call also merit respect.
2019 winner CHIDSWELL is probably in better form than his form figures suggest and this may have been the target for the veteran. A big run could be forthcoming if he can keep the mistakes down and he gets the vote over Canelo and Special Prep.
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