Providing there's at least some give in the ground VINO GRIEGO can be expected to make a winning debut over fences. Gary Moore won this race in 2009 with the smart Bergo and in Vino Griego looks to have excellent claims of doubling up, the horse having achieved a rating of 135 in a light hurdles career. The concern would be that he's produced his best runs on very soft ground but presumably connections are confident conditions will be suitable and he looks the class act. Benfleet Boy is another whose best form has come when there has been give in the ground and on official BHA ratings he would actually be the one to beat, but he's had much more racing than our pick and is surely flattered by his hurdles mark. Chain Of Command was around 20 lengths behind our pick when they met at Cheltenham but may be best of the rest in a race lacking depth.
Benfleet Boy 50-1 (11-0) Led until 4th, ridden approaching 6th, soon lost place, tailed off when pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Sir Harry Ormesher (11-1) at Aintree 2m 4f Listed hcp hdl (1) gd in Apr, 22 ran.
Bold Pioneer (USA) 100-1 (10-13) Took keen hold, tracked leading pair, mistake 2nd, chased leader approaching 5th until hit 4 out, weakened 3 out, 5th of 6, 37l behind Harry Tricker (11-4) at Fontwell 2m 2f beg chs (4) gd in Sep.
Chain Of Command (IRE) 100-1 (11-7) Raced keenly, held up behind, outpaced 2 out, never on terms, 16th of 18, 34l behind Menorah (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m nov hdl G1 (1) gs in Mar.
Hi Tide (IRE) 66-1 (11-2) Chased leaders, outpaced 4 out, soon no chance with leaders, 4th of 6, 34l behind Cockney Trucker (11-8) at Huntingdon 2m nov chs (3) gd.
Ray Diamond 9-1 (11-4) Held up mid-division, hit 4th, pushed along approaching 7th, weakened after 3 out, 7th of 9, 34l behind Pro Pell (11-3) at Fontwell 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gd in May.
Sonning Star (IRE) 8-1 (11-7) In touch, weakened before 2 out, 5th of 11, 24l behind Tiger O'toole (11-7) at Southwell 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gd in May.
Vino Griego (FR) 10-1 (11-4) Mid-division, headway 7th, disputing 3rd when blundered badly 3 out, soon weakened, 7th of 9, 23l behind Peddlers Cross (11-4) at Aintree 2m 4f nov hdl G2 (1) gd in Apr.