In a small field beginners' chase MAHONIA is best served by the framing of the contest and should be winning ahead of the consistent Cool Friend and the Philip Hobbs trained Bluegun. Easily the highest rated of these and with terms in his favour the pick should be able to put a poor run at the Cheltenham festival behind him. That was back over hurdles and while he hasn't always been the best over fences this looks his easiest opportunity to date. Cool Friend is consistent and doesn't have to find a great deal on these terms. She's found just the one too good in all four of her chase starts and with conditions looking ideal she should go very close again. Bluegun has a bit to find at the weights but had been putting in some solid efforts in similar events before being brought down last time. Both Earth Magic and Tara Royal will both need to improve so the best bet looks to lie with the best horse in the race which is Mahonia.
Bluegun (IRE) 11-2 (11-5) Badly hampered when brought down 1st, in a race won by Carlitos (11-4) at Newbury 2m 6f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Mar, 10 ran.
Earth Magic (IRE) 4-1 (10-12) Led until fell 7th, in a race won by Pheidias (11-4) at Fakenham 3m nov chs (3) gf, 6 ran.
Mahonia (IRE) 33-1 (11-0) Always behind, 15th of 24, 34l behind Pause And Clause (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp (2) sft in Mar.
Tara Royal 16-1 (10-5) Pulled hard in touch, challenged 6th, mistake 4 out, saddle slipped briefly, weakened 2 out, 17th of 22, well behind Sir Harry Ormesher (11-1) at Aintree 2m 4f listed hcp hdl (1) gd in Apr.
Cool Friend (IRE) 5-4fav (10-5) Tracked leader, led 5th to 7th, remained close up, stayed on to take 2nd flat, 2nd of 7, 1 1/2l behind Awesome George (11-1) at Hereford 2m 3f nov chs (3) sft in Mar.