It’s a wide-open, competitive handicap hurdle this first race, isn’t it?

On recent form, it’s hard to look away from the Skeltons’ Wilde About Oscar , who has been a winning machine this season.

He was a good winner last time out on Midlands National Day at Uttoxeter. He does carry top weight, but he’s the best horse in the race.


Belfast Banter  won the County Hurdle and he’s only six, so you’d think he’s still improving.

He could be the one in the Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle.


Chantry House  looked in need of 3m when he won the Marsh Chase at Cheltenham and his connections have wasted no time in stepping him up.

I don’t think he’ll need to improve that much from Cheltenham to win this race.


I think the way the race will be run, it could be set up for Fakir D’oudairies  to come in from the back after the last, and I think that’s what Mark Walsh will do.

He’s a super jumper and a strong traveller, too. He was second in the Ryanair last time out and has the best form in this race. He could be too good for them here.


It’s tough to split two in the Topham.

These could be his optimum conditions for Livelovelaugh  and this race would suit him well. He’s been in grand form this season, too.

Modus , meanwhile, was a good third in Grand Sefton earlier in the season and showed a liking for the National fences that day.

He’ll have been primed for this race and I expect he’ll go well under Jonjo O’Neill Jnr.


We’ve seen that Emmett Mullins means business when he sends horses over to the UK and Cape Gentleman , who won well at Kempton last time, could be a very classy horse.

He’s a smart horse who managed to win the Irish Cesarewitch last season and is a strong traveller. I expect him to be played late.

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