He comes here a fresh horse, having not raced since an impressive win in the Towton at Wetherby in February, and one who I think has a lot of improvement in him. He is a young horse as a 6yo and a mark of 142 would appear to give him a very fair chance here on a track he has won at. He ought to go well.
I think it is fair to say he hasn’t quite run up to his best on his last two starts, but he certainly didn’t run badly when in midfield in the County Hurdle last time and he has been dropped 2lb for it. On his favoured decent ground, though he handles soft, I can see him going well despite top weight.
We thought he would run a lot better than he did at Cheltenham, and I don’t know why he didn’t perform as expected. Maybe this better ground will suit him and, if it does, then he clearly has a big chance on his earlier second to Gerri Colombe at Sandown. On that run, he is the one to beat.
We were happy enough with his return over hurdles, but he clearly didn’t run to his best in the Cotswold Chase, a race in which he was beaten a long way out and was soon pulled up. We have given him a break since and, a good winner here last season, I could see this test suiting him. But he clearly needs to bounce back, and maybe the first-time cheekpieces will help him in that regard.