THE LAST DAY remains open to improvement over fences this season and reappears off a good mark back in a handicap. Charmant did well as a novice chaser and is also worth being positive about, while Baby King is only 1 lb higher for his win at Ludlow when last seen in April.
DANSE IDOL held her form well in good company last season, and reappears on a fair-looking mark, so she makes plenty of appeal. Organdi has done nothing but improve so has to go on the shortlist, while Midnightreferendum and Aimee de Sivola are others to note.
A clutch of interesting chasers and preference is for CEPAGE. Venetia Williams's low-mileage 7-y-o hasn't been out since a fine second to Frodon at Cheltenham last December but goes really well fresh and he can return in style. There are lots of dangers, notably the well-handicapped Riders Onthe Storm who has his first run for Nigel Twiston-Davies, and Duke Street, who arrives on a four-timer.
RESERVE TANK was easily the best of these over hurdles and he showed enough on his chase debut at Chepstow to suggest he'll be at least as good over fences. If You Say Run rates the biggest threat.
ROSY WORLD's dam was second in the Final of this series so there's a good chance the 6-y-o will have more to offer now stepping up to 3m for the first time. She's preferred to Skandiburg, who shaped well on his reappearance and is another with the potential for better still now going up in distance. The unexposed Diomede des Mottes completes the shortlist.
Nicky Henderson took this prize 12 months ago with high-class mare Verdana Blue and his FUSIL RAFFLES looks hard to beat this time around after creating a most favourable impression in scoring easily on his two starts for the yard last spring. Paul Nicholls' duo Grand Sancy and Christopher Wood are promising sorts too and look set to chase him home in a most interesting Grade 2 hurdle.
WHITE MOON seemingly had the race at his mercy when departing at this course on reappearance and still makes plenty of appeal from a 5 lb higher mark with more to come. He's preferred to Present Man, who's bidding to win this for the third year running, with the in-form Beau du Brizais also regarded as a danger.
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