ALWAYS a tricky puzzle this race and this year looks incredibly competitive once again, probably even more so than usual.
A clear favourite hasn’t emerged although at the time of writing it looks like my main tip HEATHFIELD is being heavily supported and might go off as favourite. That doesn’t put me off him though. His win at Punchestown at their festival last spring (over 3m 6f) was very impressive and he immediately went into the notebook as a potential Aintree winner. He didn’t quite have a night enough rating to get in but he now comes here off the back of a comfortable hurdles win and looks completely unexposed in this sort of race. The ground won’t be a problem and I can see him relishing that long gruelling run-in with a relatively low weight on his back.
The other one that I like is ALVARADO who was aimed once again at Aintree but missed out by being 2lb too low in the weights. Evan Williams will have trained him all year with that race in mind and the way he has stayed on into fourth at Aintree over the last two years suggests he has everything he needs to win a race like this. I was very surprised to see 25/1 available.
Followers will remember that I am a fan of Cause of Causes but I would advise against backing him today. He did us proud at Cheltenham but is now running off a much higher mark which gives him top weight in a gruelling contest. Notable mention also to Folsom Blue who is racing off a nice weight for Mouse Morris who can do no wrong at the moment and it might not be a daft idea to keep him onside.
- HEATHFIELD – 2pt each way at 10/1 with Bet365 and others
- ALVARADO – 1pt each way at 25/1 with William Hill and others
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