ALEXANDERTHEGREAT was in the process of running a big race in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham before his jockey exited the saddle and he can make amends today with a win at the main expense of King Harald, Alderburn and My Immortal. Younger horses have done well in this race in recent years but the 11-year-old Alexanderthegreat can strike a blow for the older generation today. Whilst he is not the best-handicapped horse in training, he has not failed to run his race since being pulled up at Uttoxeter in heavy ground back in January of 2007. He will like this ground and looks worth a bet. Top-weight Alderburn won this race two years ago but his latest run at Doncaster was totally abject and he is now passed over, as is course and distance winner King Harald after some poor recent runs but course experience is always a bonus. Cava Bien sneaks in at the bottom of the weights. Tim Vaughan's progressive gelding will be on a high after completing the hat-trick at Taunton recently and is not be underestimated. One of the more interesting runners is My Immortal on his first start for John Quinn. Ruby Walsh catches the eye as a jockey-booking and this mark off 126 looks one that canny new connections might be able to exploit, especially as we know he handles the ground. Theatre Dance is progressing well and represents a red-hot trainer, whilst Tom Sayers and Verasi need to bounce back to form. Lyes Green is another who has a bit to prove, along with the experienced Kanjar D'Allier, but it is Alexanderthegreat who can live up to his moniker.
Alderburn 4-1jt-fav (10-9) Held up and keen, weakened 4 out, 7th of 8, 30l behind Out The Black (10-0) at Doncaster 3m 2f hcp chs (2) gf in Feb.
Strawberry (IRE) 9-2 (10-6) Led until after 4 out, soon ridden, stayed on same pace, 3rd of 6, 6l behind Oceanos des Obeaux (10-4) at Fontwell 2m 4f hcp chs (2) gd in Feb.
Theatre Dance (IRE) 5-6fav (11-0) Tracked leaders, nudged along approaching 5 out, switched right approaching 2 out, led approaching last, stayed on well, ridden out, won at Chepstow 3m beg chs (4) gs beating Mark The Book (11-0) by 3 1/2l, 4 ran.
Kandjar d'Allier (FR) 6-1 (11-5) Chased leader, led 3rd, headed 6th, weakened from 3 out, 6th of 12, 17l behind Church Island (10-13) at Doncaster 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gs in Feb.
King Harald (IRE) 6-1 (11-6) Held up in touch, weakened from 12th, 9th of 12, well behind Church Island (10-13) at Doncaster 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gs in Feb.
Tom Sayers (IRE) 6-1 (11-3) Chased leaders, hit 3rd, never really travelling after, reminders and dropped to rear 6th, tailed off when pulled up 4 out in race won by Darkness (11-12) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd in Feb, 8 ran.
Mount Oscar (IRE) 16-1 (10-12) Disputed lead, headed 13th, led next, ridden when headed 2 out, hit last, rallied run-in, held near finish, 2nd of 7, nk behind Or Jaune (10-12) at Kempton 3m nov chs (3) sft in Jan.
Alexanderthegreat (IRE) 10-1 (11-0) Mostly in touch until hampered and unseated rider at the 14th in race won by Character Building (11-12) at Cheltenham 3m 1f amt hcp chs 0-140 (2) gs, 24 ran.
Verasi 14-1 (10-13) Soon towards rear, struggling 10th and pulled up at the 12th in race won by Big Fella Thanks (11-2) at Doncaster 3m lst hcp chs (1) sft in Jan, 13 ran.
My Immortal 25-1 (10-0) Always in rear, 14th of 19, well behind Monkerhostin (10-13) at Sandown 3m 5f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) gd in Apr.
Lyes Green 8-1 (11-12) Always behind, some headway before 13th, hit 16th, soon tailed off, pulled up before 2 out pulled up 2 out in race won by Russian Trigger (11-11) at Folkestone 3m 7f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Feb, 14 ran.
Cava Bien 9-2 (11-7) In touch, headway 11th, challenged 4 out, soon ridden, stayed on to lead flat, driven out, won at Taunton 2m 7f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gs beating I Hear Thunder (11-4) by 1 1/2l, 9 ran.
Antonius Caesar (FR) 13-2 (11-2) Chased leaders, chased winner before 3 out, no impression next, lost 2nd flat, kept on, 3rd of 7, 2 1/2l behind Fresh Air And Fun (10-11) at Sandown 3m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd.