DEEP PURPLE is selected here ahead of Oumeyade and French Opera. The selection has been impressive in winning his two most recent starts, including when brushing aside a decent field at Ascot last time. That was arguably on ground too soft for him and over a trip that stretches his stamina; back on quicker ground and a shorter trip today he looks sure to put his lightning quick jumping to good use. The main danger must be Oumeyade. The trainer/owner combo enjoyed a good day at the track yesterday and this course and distance winner, so impressive when winning last time at Exeter, is a horse with a big future. French Opera was a good winner on his comeback but then fell last time at the track, in a race won by Doctor David. If his jumping holds up then this talented gelding should not be far away. Peredur has been off the track for a while but was a winner in France when last seen in March and has run well on his jaunts across the Channel before. Chasing is a new venture for him and he is unlikely to really trouble the main protagonists. Original and Passato are also likely to be there for the minor prize money, and so it is Deep Purple who gets the nod.
Deep Purple 9-4 (11-0) Made all, shaken up to draw clear 2 out, went badly left last, eased near finish, won at Ascot 2m 3f nov chs Grd 2 (1) gs beating Turkish Surprise (11-0) by 3 1/2l, 5 ran.
Oumeyade (FR) 8-11fav (11-9) Made all, eased ahead 4 out, hit last, comfortably, won at Exeter 2m 1f nov chs (2) gs in Nov beating Oscar Bay (11-9) by 19l, 4 ran.
French Opera 4-6fav (11-0) Chasing leader when fell at the 3rd in race won by Doctor David (11-0) at Kempton 2m nov chs (3) gd in Nov, 5 ran.
Original (FR) (10-12) Front rank, one pace under pressure, 3rd of 18, 3 1/2l behind Popova (10-1) at Auteuil 2m 3f hdl hvy in Nov.
Passato (GER) 40-1 (10-7) Towards rear, moderate effort approaching 2 out, 10th of 13, 18l behind Kadouchski (11-3) at Sandown 2m nov hcp hdl 0-120 (3) sft.
Peredur (GER) 9-1 (11-4) Led, mistake 5th, ridden and headed 3 out, gradually faded, 6th of 14, 41l behind Celestial Halo (10-12) at Newbury 2m 3yo nov hdl (3) sft.