Flaming Charmer beat Un Bon P'tit Gars by nine lengths at Chepstow earlier this month but the runner-up is 11lb better off and may well turn the tables. Valdez was quite impressive when beating more experienced rivals on his chasing bow at Exeter but, with his weight-for-age allowance, BLACK RIVER is receiving 8lb from the top weight and that may be enough to swing things his way. Graham Wylie bought the four-year-old out of Guy Cherel's yard after he won a couple of hurdle races and Paul Nicholls has done well with similar types in the past. Earls Quarter made mistakes when third at Kempton but that was a tough start over fences and he'll have more to offer in the months ahead.
Valdez 7-4fav (11-1) Tracked leaders, took keen hold, went 2nd from 3rd, led 7th, not fluent 3 out, clear last, stayed on, won at Exeter 2m 1f beg chs (4) gs beating The Italian Yob (11-1) by 6l, 8 ran.
Earls Quarter (IRE) 20-1 (11-2) Raced keenly, led, mistake 4th, headed 6th, jumped left after, went badly left and lost 2nd 8th, ridden and no extra in 3rd before 2 out, 3rd of 5, 17l behind Dodging Bullets (11-2) at Kempton 2m beg chs (4) gd in Oct.
Black River (FR) 4-1 (10-12) won at Auteuil(FR) 2m 1f 4yo hdl hvy in Mar beating Vautour (10-7) by 6l, 14 ran.
Flaming Charmer (IRE) 5-1 (10-9) Prominent, went 2nd before 3 out, led 2 out, ridden before last, kept on well, won at Chepstow 2m nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) hvy beating Un Bon P'tit Gars (11-5) by 9l, 8 ran.
Un Bon P'tit Gars (FR) 9-2 (11-5) Led, not fluent 4 out, mistake 3 out, headed 2 out, kept on and held by winner, 2nd of 8, 9l behind Flaming Charmer (10-9) at Chepstow 2m nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) hvy.