1.50 Warwick

BLACK HERCULES has looked a powerful stayer, dependant on stamina-sapping conditions, for the majority of his career and three miles on deep ground should bring his attributes into play here. The Irish raider sluiced up at Navan in dreadful conditions last time and will take some stopping if finding a rhythm over his fences as they jump seven obstacles in the final mile.

There is probably more to come from Definitly Red, who shaped with promise over hurdles behind Baradari at Haydock before winning a modest heat on his chasing debut at Catterick, while Silsol was swept aside by Seeyouatmidnight at Carlisle and that performance received a boost when his conqueror scored impressively at Cheltenham.

However, this looks a great opportunity for Black Hercules to enhance his Cheltenham Festival aspirations, with the National Hunt Chase a primary target.
Black Hercules - 1pt @ 1.73

2.25 Warwick

Isaacstown Lad, Arctic Gold and Pobbles Bay are a trio of hurdlers going the right way, but it could be worth take a chance on ROLLING MAUL to upset the trio. Three modest performances over fences this term have finally encouraged connections to revert to the smaller obstacles at a track where he was an impressive four-length scorer on deep ground last spring.

The Bowen stable have found some form in recent times with a well-backed winner on Welsh National day and a bumper scorer at Ludlow last week and their eight-year-old may be worth supporting to score at a double-figure price.

Isaacstown Lad probably wouldn’t be running here if he had stood up at Carlisle two starts ago in a similar qualifier for the series final in March and he was back to form with a smooth Haydock win last time. He looks a chief threat along with Ludlow scorer Arctic Gold, who relished the step up in trip at Ludlow last time, while Ffos Las-lover Pobbles Bay was raised 7lb for a narrow win there last time and probably needs to improve again.
Rolling Maul - 1pt @ 15.0

3.00 Warwick

A smart field have assembled for the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle and course and distance scorer BORN SURVIVOR may provide trainer Dan Skelton with successive victories in this race following the win of Three Musketeers 12 months ago.

The selection cost a good few quid from the Irish point-to-point field so was clearly highly-regarded from an early age, and he justified the hype with a cosy two-length defeat of a subsequent winner on his rules debut at the Midlands venue.

The Willie Mullins-duo will provide stiff opposition although Thomas Hobson will need to hurdle with more proficiency than he has done on occasion. Open Eagle is up in trip after failing to cope with Altior’s burst of speed at Kempton over Christmas. He travelled like the best horse that day and is highly respected but may find Born Survivor too strong at today’s trip.
Born Survivor - 1pt @ 3.5

3.20 Chelmsford

The battle for the lead will be interesting here with LUV U WHATEVER and Pearl Spectre both keen to dominate, while Our Channel can bowl along too. The former is very versatile trip wise (won over 1m5f last time) and displayed terrific determination to see off all challengers down the straight so could take some passing if in front turning for home.

Afonso De Sousa may prove a tougher adversary. The northern raider looked like his first run for nine months would bring him on at Wolverhampton last time and connections continue to dispense with the hood and cheekpieces he has worn previously.

In contrast, Our Channel sports the pieces again after racing awkwardly at Lingfield in a small-field mile conditions event.
Luv U Whatever - 1pt @ 4.0

3.35 Warwick

Paul Nicholls has saddled three of the last five winners of the Betfred Classic Chase, but Alan King may hold the key to success this afternoon. The Barbury Castle handler saddles both Midnight Prayer and SEGO SUCCESS in the marathon feature and both appear to have outstanding chances of enhancing excellent track records.

Although Midnight Prayer missed the Welsh National with a dirty scope, he wouldn’t be running if all was not well, but the fact Wayne Hutchinson prefers to maintain his partnership with Sego Success narrowly tips the balance in the eight-year-old’s favour. The combination of a switch in tactics to front running and the introduction of cheekpieces proved the catalyst to an impressive Doncaster victory before Christmas for King’s chaser who won a Listed novices’ chase on this card 12 months ago to prove he doesn’t suffer from any festive excesses.

Given recent results, the Nicholls-trained Vivaldi Collonges is respected following his stylish Kelso triumph, while De Kerry Man gave a bold sight at Cheltenham before capsizing three from home in a decent race last time. Algernon Pazham appeared to hate the National fences at Aintree and could be more a player at this more orthodox track, but the vote goes to Sego Sucess.
Sego Success - 1pt @ 8.0