tracked leader, led 2 out, ridden out, comfortable
close up in 4th, went poor 3rd 5 out, plugged on
led, clear 3rd, reduced lead 4 out, ridden and headed 2 out, keeping on same when mistake next
tracked leaders until pushed along 5 out, soon beaten
Nicky Henderson trained last year’s inaugural winner and has a strong hand in this represented by Angels Breath and BIRCHDALE - both useful hurdlers making their chasing debuts. The former could only manage third when favourite for a Grade 1 hurdle at Aintree in April and the latter disappointed in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March but Barry Geraghty’s mount is from a family of winning chasers and may prove the one to side with now tackling the larger obstacles. The Mighty Don has come up short against lower rated horses in both outings over fences so far while First Flow ran well at Uttoxeter on his chasing bow but has something to find on these terms.
Angels Breath (IRE) 11-4fav (11-4) Took keen hold in touch, every chance approaching 3 out, ridden after 2 out, hit last, stayed on same pace flat, 3rd of 9, 5 1/2l behind Reserve Tank (11-4) at Aintree 2m 4f (1) gd in Apr.
Birchdale (IRE) 6-1 (11-5) Mid-division, headway 3 out, chased leaders next, driven and unable to quicken turning in, weakened and pulled up before last, at Cheltenham 3m (1) gs in Mar.
First Flow (IRE) 2-1jfav (11-2) Pressed leader, led 3rd, not fluent next, switched to race wide 6th, headed after 5 out, led again 3 out, went right next, soon ridden, headed before last, no extra flat, 2nd of 6, 4l behind Summerville Boy (11-2) at Uttoxeter 2m (3) sft in Nov.
The Mighty Don (IRE) 9-4 (11-2) Jumped right on occasions, led until 3 out, chased winner, mistake 2 out, ridden and plugged on between last 2, lost 2nd post, 3rd of 6, 2 1/4l behind Esprit Du Large (11-2) at Exeter 2m 3f (3) sft in Nov.