With the dead eight runners set to go to post and the front two taking a huge chunk out of the market, this looks an obvious race to manufacture some form of each-way thievery – so step forward VYTA DU ROC (best price 10/1)
. A top-class novice hurdler last season, Nicky Henderson’s charge was slightly unlucky not to claim the Neptune here twelve months ago and he went on to prove that was the case with another solid effort behind Thistlecrack in the Grade 1 at Aintree. The son of Lion Noir began his career over fences in the best possible fashion with a smooth success at Bangor and even though he failed follow up that victory at Doncaster next time out, there was no disgrace in chasing home the useful Bouvreuil, who advertised the form with a terrific effort at Cheltenham yesterday. His best performance, and the one that gives him excellent claims in this race, however, comes courtesy of his latest win in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot 25 days ago. Staying on strongly off the back of testing fractions, the seven-year-old proved that he has stamina in abundance and with Minella Rocca and Ballyalton boosting the form in the best possible fashion on day one of the meeting, the likable grey gelding has the sort of profile with many previous winners of this bruising encounter.