Smart Stat: £17.05 - Nicky Henderson's profit with chasers running after a break since the start of the 2011/12 season
This looks a competitive renewal, and Minella Rocco’s presence means that nearly half of the field race from out of the handicap, including Premier Bond (only 1 lb), but he still makes a fair bit of appeal. He remains unexposed over fences, and the way he stayed on in the closing stages to finish third in the Kim Muir last season suggests he should be well suited by today’s extra furlong. He still looks fairly treated and Nicky Henderson does well with his horses returning from a break.
Smart Stat: £58.35 - Simon Crisford's profit when having one runner at a flat meeting since the start of the 2012 season
Eagle Creek created a very favourable impression when winning his maiden on return over this C&D in April and, though he didn’t progress as expected in turf handicaps after, he returned to form at Kempton last time. It seems, at this stage at least, that Eagle Creek is much more effective on an artificial surface and everything looks in place for a big run here. He has a good draw to work with, Champion Jockey Silvestre de Sousa on board for the first time, and has the potential to prove better than an official mark of 96.
Smart Stat: 25% - Nicky Henderson's strike rate in early season since the start of the 2012/13 season
It’s hard to get away from the claims of Thomas Campbell, who built on the conspicuous promise of last season’s handicap runs when landing a gamble on his return at this course last month. That was his first crack at three miles, and it appears to be the making of him, everything - bar his jumping, which was still novicey - coming easily to him, and it will be disappointing if he isn’t able to take this step up in grade in his stride on his way to even better things.