FRUITY O’Rooney, a 10-year-old trained by Gary Moore and runner-up in the JLT Specialty Handicap Chase last year, has been a model of consistency over fences with a string of commendable efforts in big handicaps writes Milesey. On his last two starts, Fruity O’Rooney has been placed both at Sandown and on Cheltenham Trials Day behind Katenko, who has developed into a contender for the Gold Cup. Our Mick is one of the favourites as he finished this race in third position 12 months ago behind Alfie Sherrin. Now a year older and a year more experienced, he should theoretically have stronger claims than 12 months ago off just a 1lb higher mark. Last year’s winner Alfie Sherrin has been pretty fragile during most of his career but we can’t exlcude this horse from the mai ncontenders.
Cantlow has won two of his four starts to date over fences, claiming novice events at Plumpton and Taunton on his two most recent outings.
Midnight Chase, a 11-year-old, is without a win since landing last season’s Argento Chase at Cheltenham, where he beat Tidal Bay. He has since struggled in Graded races and will be dropped back into handicap company at the Cheltenham Festival before tackling the John Smith’s Grand National.
Opening Batsman, a seven-year-old, has gone up eight pounds in the weights after winning one of the most prestigious staying handicap chases of the season at Kempton.
Outsiders? The Package and Loch Ba, if they run, might be good ideas.
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