Named after the 5-time King George winner, this 3-mile novice chase is run over the same course and distance of the King George. In the last 10 renewals, 3 of the trainers with runners today have been previously successful, Paul Nicholls, Nigel Twiston-Davies, and Colin Tizzard.
There are 7 runners due to go to post for today’s contest.
As Du Mee 14/1
The Paul Nicholls inmate tries 3-miles for the first-time after 12 tries over shorter trips. He could improve for it, but will need to as he has around a stone to find on official ratings. Has won right-handed, and the Nicholls stable are starting to hit form again with 4 winners from their last 17 runners.
Bally Beaufort 14/1
This one has already improved greatly for changing to fences from hurdles, but was rated just 128 over hurdles. Won twice at Aintree in two chase starts, but this looks a big step-up in class.
Native River 2/1
Was backed as though defeat was out of the question when he was an easy winner at Exeter on his second chase start, and then looked a stayer with star potential when powering past Un Temps Pour at Newbury. Won both starts going right-handed, and his stable is back in excellent form, on what could be a big day for them. 6lb clear on official ratings, and will be tough to beat with the softening ground in his favour.
Net D’ecosse 20/1
Hails from the mighty Willie Mullins stable, but no form to suggest he’s up to winning this. Rated just 128 over hurdles, and his recent chase win came over 2-miles.
Southfield Royale 8/1
Officially rated second best, and has won his last two chases over 3-miles on soft ground. Trainer Neil Mullholland and jockey Noel Fehilly have teamed-up on several occasions and, whilst I doubt he’s top-class, he should outstay a few of these.
Tea For Two 9/4
Jumped brilliantly on his chase debut, and is 2 from 2 at the course, and 6 from 7 going right-handed. The major worry is the trip as he’s yet to conclusively prove he stays this far, but he hasn’t tried it going this way around.
L’ Unique 20/1
Decent hurdler, but has looked a dodgy jumper so far in short chase career.
As the softening ground should make this a true test of stamina, Native River is expected to have too much staying-power for main market rival Tea For Two. If the latter’s stamina does give way, then Southfield Theatre may chase the tip home.