Ballynagour looked to have any amount in hand when scoring on his British debut at Warwick recently. A word of caution is required though, he holds no less than 6 Festival entries and it would take a better man than me to predict what the Pipe team have in mind for this exciting horse. Hunt Ball was recently third in the Aintree Bowl and second to Menorah in the rerouted Peterborough Chase at Kempton, the latter on ground heavier than ideal. Domtaline won his first two starts over fences and then came within a whisker of giving 3lb and a beating to 2011 Coral Cup winner Carlito Brigante in a tasty little novice chase at Cheltenham’s October fixture. Carlito Brigante also have an entry here but it’s very unlikely to see this horse run the Byrne Plate.
Divers, another previous Festival winner, landed the Centenary novice handicap and has been prepared with that race in mind. Last season Divers was aimed at the Byrne Group Plate, finishing 4th behind favourite Salut Flo.
Paul Webber’s Cantlow has been kept under wraps for the festival since scoring comfortably in novice events at Plumpton and Taunton. He finished runner-up in the Pertemps Hurdle Final last year and has since been purchased by leading owner JP McManus.
Tap Night is a well fancied JP McManus runner, who has some smart form over hurdles beating Captain Conan by 2 lengths.
Colour Squadron has some strong form in the book, hanging away his chance in the Tolworth Hurdle last year beaten a head by current Jewson favourite Captain Conan.
Vino Griego finished only eighth to Hunt Ball last year, but he was fourth in this race the previous season.
Walkon, Sweet My Lord and Kapga De Cerisy might be the surprises here. All of them have good potentiality and bookies are shortening their odds.