15:00 Warwick

Focus on the favourite

Notachance (9/2)

Notachance is the least exposed in the field after just five starts to date over fences. He made a successful return from ten months off at Bangor in November when jumping soundly and staying on well to beat Captain Tommy by three and three quarter lengths, with The Two Amigos, who has since finished an excellent second in last week’s Welsh Grand National, back in third. Notachance has yet to race beyond three miles, but he gives the impression he’ll stay long distances as the Bangor race was a thorough test at the trip, run at a sound tempo on heavy ground. Notachance had also looked a thorough stayer in his other success over fences, under similar conditions at Exeter last season, so should be very well suited by stepping up in trip here. His trainer Alan King has won the Classic Chase twice before.

An outsider to consider

The Hollow Ginge (20/1)

Nigel Twiston-Davies has won this in the past with Baron Windrush and saddles an interesting outsider this time in The Hollow Ginge. Admittedly, he has a poor completion record of late, including when unseating in the Welsh Grand National just a week ago, but he ran a fine race prior to that when outrunning odds of 50/1 to come from well off the pace to finish fourth behind Cloth Cap in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury, faring best of those held up. He wore a visor for the first time on that occasion, which is retained here. The Hollow Ginge is also reunited with Sam Twiston-Davies on Saturday for the first time since they were last successful in a novices’ handicap at Leicester around this time last year and meets the runner-up from that race, Late Romantic, on better terms this time.

A stat to note

The Skeltons have the best record at their local track

Dan Skelton has been much the most successful trainer at Warwick over the last five seasons, with his 62 winners coming at a strike rate of 22%. Likewise, brother Harry is the track’s leading jockey, with 59 wins and a strike rate of 24%. The pair are represented by Captain Chaos who has been placed in both his previous visits to Warwick, notably when runner-up in this race last year.

The Verdict

This looks an intriguing contest which can go to the youngest horse in the field, Notachance. The unexposed seven-year-old produced a career-best on his return at Bangor last time, jumping soundly and shaping as though the step up to a marathon trip will suit him well. His trainer Alan King has had success in this race before, as has Kerry Lee whose hat-trick-seeking Storm Control is an in-form danger, while last year’s runner-up Captain Chaos and, at longer odds, Ladbrokes Trophy fourth The Hollow Ginge, are others capable of going close.

Timeform weight-adjusted ratings:

  • 172        Captain Chaos
  • 171        Walk In The Mill
  • 169        Achille
  • 169        Le Breuil
  • 169        Notachance
  • 168        Storm Control

Notachance - 1pt @ 9/2