American Spin and Esporao have already won over fences but the former is an out-and-out stayer who will surely find this much too sharp while the latter was pulled up when last seen and was only a plater over hurdles. CLARET CLOAK could be a novice to follow this season as he's always looked a chaser in the making, despite winning three times over hurdles. This looks a decent opportunity to make a winning start over the larger obstacles. Dont Take Me Alive could be interesting with his weight-for-age allowance but Akula isn't improving and the mare Chicklemix may need this.
American Spin 7-4fav (11-0) Often jumped right, made all, pushed along before 15th, ridden and joined when hit 3 out, (water), driven clear when went right 2 out, hit last, won at Newton Abbot 3m 2f beg chase (4) gd in May beating Well Mett (11-0) by 7l, 8 ran.
Esporao (IRE) 16-1 (11-6) Pulled hard, tracked leader, left in clear lead 4th, reduced advantage after 8th, not fluent next, soon headed, 10 lengths 4th when not fluent 3 out, pulled up before next, in a race won by The Cockney Mackem (11-0) at Worcester 2m nov chs (4) gd in Aug, 7 ran.
Akula (IRE) 33-1 (11-1) Held up towards rear, ridden and some headway before 2 out, weakened last, 9th of 13, 24l behind On The Bridge (11-6) at Worcester 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in Jul.
Claret Cloak (IRE) 11-4fav (11-12) Mid-division, tracked leaders 5th, went 2nd 2 out, wide entering straight, ridden to lead when hit last, hard pressed flat, held on near finish, won at Stratford 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in Apr beating Seventh Sky (10-13) by 1 1/4l, 11 ran.
Be Kind 80-1 (9-7) Mid-division, mistake 5th, lost place when mistake 8th, tailed off, 8th of 10, well behind Mia's Anthem (10-4) at Uttoxeter 3m nov hcp hdl 0-100 (5) gd in Sep.
Chicklemix 14-1 (11-4) Always towards rear, weakened after 4 out, 12th of 14, well behind Billy Twyford (11-7) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) sft in Feb.
Dont Take Me Alive 12-1 (10-5) Held up towards rear, headway to chase leaders after 3 out, driven before last, no extra flat, 5th of 10, 5l behind Alfraamsey (11-4) at Plumpton 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gf in Sep.