PYM (3.15) has a touch of quality and that should stand him in good stead in a typically competitive renewal of the Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle.
Pym gave 6lb and a beating to smart If The Cap Fits at Sandown and was a classy novice in the early stages of last season. Whatmore, runner-up to course specialist Regal Encore at Ascot, is up 4lb but Henry Daly’s gelding should be thereabouts, along with The Butcher Said.
SECRET INVESTOR (3.00) remains relatively unexposed over fences and can outrun his 12-1 odds in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury.
The Paul Nicholls-trained gelding was a smart novice and ran well in defeat here in February when chasing home Native River. The track was riding good when Secret Investor kept up a relentless gallop to beat re-opposing Potterman seven lengths at Chepstow last month, so today’s drying underfoot conditions should suit.
The Conditional, Kildisart and Vinndication are all closely matched on their running in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham festival. Vinnidication stuttered into the first fence and was never jumping boldly at Wetherby but was still able to chase home Cyborg. Kim Bailey and David Bass have been in rampant form and Vinndication rates a big threat.
Black Op made almost all the running in the Grade 2 Novices’ Chase at this fixture 12 months ago before being collared at the last by Champ. He will strip tighter for his comeback fourth to Imperial Aura at Carlisle when fading on the very testing ground.
TEA CLIPPER (1.50) has tasted defeat only once in five starts and can make light of a 7lb rise for beating Flash The Steel at Chepstow. The runner-up is 4lb better off but fell at Haydock last Saturday.
IBLEO (3.35) wins a narrow vote over top weight Moonlighter in the two-mile handicap chase. Venetia Williams is moving into top gear and Ibleo was pipped by Amoola Gold at Ascot, with the winner coming out and running an excellent second to First Flow last Saturday. Moonlighter is up 5lb after a terrific effort in the Grade 2 Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter earlier this month, only giving way close home to Greaneteen.
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