Broomfield Burg (Nico De Boinville)
He was arguably quite unlucky at Cheltenham last time because he probably should have won but got reeled in by a horse in receipt of about 20 odd pounds and we were only beaten a length so still put up a very good performance. He’s now off a mark of 134 therefode has to produce a career best but he has plenty of talent and lots in his favour.
Mister Coffey (Sean Bowen)
We thought he would win on his chasing debut at Newbury but things didn’t go to plan and he was too keen and got very tired. That will have blown away the cobwebs, however, and I’m rather hoping the step up to two and a half will help him settle into a nice rhythm. I still maintain he could be very high class over fences and he has no excuses here.
Bothwell Bridge (Nico De Boinville)
I thought he put up a very good performance to win at Sandown last time on his first run over fences and there should be improvement to come. He’s a lovely big horse who stays well and comes into this with very strong credentials. He’s made for chasing.
Epatante (Nico De Boinville)
Everything has gone well since the Fighting Fifth and after we sorted a few problems with her back over the summer I was delighted to see her dead heat at Newcastle – although an outright win would have been much preferable! The track, trip and ground are perfect and there are no excuses.
Chantry House (Nico de Boinville)
I’m not sure he’s quite received the recognition he deserves having won impressively at both the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals and then he couldn’t have done anything more than what he did at Sandown on his return where I was delighted with the way he jumped and travelled. This is ultimately the biggest test he has faced but his work has been excellent and we took him away to gallop last week so he should be absolutely spot on. He’s a big, strong solid son of Yeats who has a lot in his favour and is the biggest danger to our other runner, Mister Fisher!
Mister Fisher (Sean Bowen)
This race has been the plan from some way back but we haven’t arrived here quite in the way we’d all have liked. The intention was to run in the Peterborough Chase, which would have set him up nicely for a crack at this prize, but unfortunately after several below-par work outs in the autumn we discovered he was suffering from a fibrillating heart which certainly explained why we weren’t seeing the real Mister Fisher. We took him straight to the equine hospital and thankfully everything was sorted pretty quickly. He only required a couple of weeks stable rest and then we were able to crack on with him and I’m very pleased to say that his work has been excellent ever since and we think we have the old Mister Fisher back. Obviously this is a massive task on his first run of the season, but he’s been away to work so is a fit as we can get him at home and on their running in Oaksey Chase at Sandown last April, there’s not much between him and Frodon. He’s ran once over this trip, in the Bowl at Aintree, but lost his jockey at the 12th fence so we have no idea what the outcome would have been, but I do think he’ll have no problem getting the trip and as long as the ground isn’t too testing, because he’s much better on good ground, he could quite possibly run a nice race at what will probably be big odds.
Heross Du Seuill (Nico de Boinville)
I like this horse and think he could end up quite smart if things go his way. The good ground is just what he wants and I think the step up in distance will bring out further improvement. It’s a decent Handicap but he’s very unexposed and should hopefully run well.
Marie’s Rock (Adrian Heskin)
She wasn’t entirely disgraced in the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham last time but I think she’s ready for a step up in trip and she’s gradually coming down the weights.
Rapid Flight (Paul O’Brien)
I don’t think he quite saw out the trip at Worcester last time because he got very tired so the drop back in trip will be in his favour and we’ll probably make plenty of use of him.
Fantastic Lady (Tom Cannon)
She got bogged down on the very soft ground at Warwick on her final run last season so the good ground here will be perfect. She’s a lovely big mare who is built to make a chaser and her schooling has been very good so I rate her chance quite highly.
Dame De Compagnie (Nathan Brennan)
She was never really travelling at Newbury last time before falling so I’m rather hoping the switch back to Hurdles will give her the confidence she needs and Nathan takes a valuable 7lbs off her back so she could potentially be quite well treated. There are only ten runners and she needs to finish in the first six to qualify for the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham so hopefully she can do that if nothing else.
Fugitives Drift (Tom Scudamore)
He ran way below par at Sandown on his first run back but that will have sharpened him up and on his best form he should be competitive in this.