Alwaystheoptimist is back over fences having been collared by the handicapper over hurdles. He may be vulnerable here but Tempest River is potentially well treated if reproducing the best of his hurdles form on his first venture over the larger obstacles. Royal Guardsman won a maiden hurdle by 15 lengths at Newton Abbot in the spring and Ali Brewer could have a potentially useful novice on her hands but ABLE DEPUTY's experience can give him the upper hand today. He ran his best race so far at Kempton last month and a first victory over the larger obstacles beckons here.
Alwaystheoptimist 10-1 (10-12) Behind, outpaced when not fluent 2 out, never dangerous, 8th of 16, 31l behind Magnifique Etoile (11-12) at Stratford 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft in Oct.
Tempest River (IRE) 12-1 (11-3) Held up towards rear, not much room 2nd, headway before 3 out, no impression, 9th of 22, 22l behind Trackmate (11-1) at Aintree 3m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in May.
Royal Guardsman (IRE) 10-11fav (11-0) Held up in touch, closed 5th, led after 3 out, clear before next, easily, won at Newton Abbot 2m 1f mdn hdl (5) gs in Apr beating Long John (10-9) by 15l, 15 ran.
Able Deputy 3-1 (10-13) Held up off the pace in last pair, headway on outside 8th, went close 2nd 4 out, led 3 out, just over 2 lengths ahead 2 out, idled between last 2, headed and found nil flat, 2nd of 6, 2 3/4l behind Gallox Bridge (11-6) at Kempton 2m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Oct.