Today I want to look at the second of three chases on the card, the 1.45, which is a 0-110 over the minimum trip.
Eyesopenwideawake; A winner on chase debut in 2017 when going typically strongly from the off, but has endured two absences of almost a year and showed very little in between breaks. However, he's 10lb below that winning mark and would have more class than the opposition should things click back into place.
Tikkinthebox; Not easy to assess, as his best form came two years ago when racking up three wins over fences. Just 1/12 since that spree, landing a very weak race from a much reduced mark last September. Still well handicapped on old form, but has become very hit and miss, often travelling well only to find very little for pressure.
Fort De l'Ocean; An athletic, nimble youngster who went close a couple of times last term and remains on the same mark. Jumped and travelled well in a fast run race on reappearance, having been an unconsidered 33/1 shot. Still only five but a really sound jumper, appears to go on any ground and the trainer had a winner at Southwell this week.
Bagan; There was a hint of a fluke about his Stratford win last summer and he failed to back it up off a 7lb higher mark. Poor on softer ground but overall suspicion is that he wants a longer trip.
Inca Gold; Son of Galileo and not very big for fences, 0/9 in this sphere but interesting they are persevering. Still, his jumping on course has been very scratchy and he can't be supported yet despite a sliding mark. Clearly though, he is one with the potential to be a market steamer.
Little Stevie; Just 3/43 under rules but plenty of placings and reliable to a point, although lost his way in the winter on softer ground. Mark is just about winnable and Johnson back on board but is vulnerable to potential improvers.
No No Cardinal; Four wins on the bounce last year have left him too high in the weights and he doesn't have the assistance of a claimer either.
Hillview Lad; Success in a belated chase debut last summer but very little since and shouldn't really be good enough.
Dragon Khan; Winner last summer from a basement mark but lost his way since and 6lb wrong in the weights.
3 Fort De L'Ocean
7/2 Little Stevie
8 Inca Gold
20 Hillview Lad
25 Dragon Khan
33 No No Cardinal
Plenty of pace on here, and presuming Eyesopenwideawake is allowed to bowl along he should lead them out, No No Cardinal and Tikkinthebox can also lie handy and expect Little Stevie to be prominent. This scenario should suit the strong travelling Fort De L'Ocean who is expected to see his race out better with a newly fitted tongue-tie and a solid run under his belt. He has already been backed but is quite a confident choice at 3/1. Little Stevie is a worthy adversary and it's not hard to see him being thereabouts, but I'll be throwing some of the petty cash at Eyesopenwideawake at a big price in case he gets away from them, and in the hope they have found the key to him. Nothing else appeals.