This appears to be a two-horse race between Royal Rosa and the unbeaten According To John, with the vote going to the latter. The stables of Howard Johnson and Nicky Richards clash again in what looks a fairly decent Beginners Chase, with both horses making their chasing debuts after returning from absences. Royal Rosa has been off the track for almost two years but had previously contested much classier hurdles contests than any other horse in this race, however it would be a fine training performance if he was to win this after such a lengthy lay-off. Therefore he is passed over in favour of According to John who has been impressive in all of his hurdling victories, even though he has looked every inch a chaser in the making. Of the rest, Rathowen could prove a threat after putting in some fair performances in big hurdles races last season, whilst the Donald McCain Jr trained Triple Mint could also run well at a bigger price. For the winner though, we return to the unbeaten According to John.
According To John (IRE) 6-4fav (11-6) Held up in rear but in touch, led after 4 out, ridden approaching 2 out, edged left run-in, driven out, won at Ayr 3m nov hcp hdl (2) gs in Apr beating Zipalong Lad (11-12) by 3 1/2l, 4 ran.
First Look (FR) 11-4 (11-7) Held up, outpaced 6th, headway 3 out, no impression approaching last, 5th of 9, 22l behind Harmony Brig (11-9) at Kelso 2m 2f nov hcp hdl (3) gs in Mar.
Morgan Be 13-8fav (11-9) In touch, took closer order halfway, led approaching 2 out, easily, won at Ayr 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-110 (4) sft in Mar beating Lampion Du Bost (10-3) by 8l, 11 ran.
Rathowen (IRE) 200-1 (11-4) Held up, hampered 8th, soon struggling, tailed off, 8th of 11, well behind Black Jack Ketchum (11-4) at Aintree 3m nov hdl Grd 1 (1) gs in Apr.
Royal Rosa (FR) 2-1fav (11-8) In touch, led 7th, headed 3 out, rallied to lead next, headed under pressure before last, weakened and eased flat, 3rd of 5, 10l behind Crystal d'Ainay (11-12) at Kempton 3m hdl Grd 2 (A) sft in Feb '05.
Triple Mint (IRE) 8-1 (11-6) Prominent, ridden and outpaced approaching 8th, rallied 3 out, went 2nd last, stayed on, 2nd of 13, 1l behind Supreme's Legacy (11-6) at Bangor 3m nov hdl (4) gs in Apr.
Mr Twins (ARG) 4-1 (9-12) Hit 2nd, in 5th when fell at the 6th in race won by Rich Song (9-7) at Market Rasen 2m 6f nov hcp chs 0-110 (4) gf in Jun, 10 ran.
Iron Warrior (IRE) 12-1 (11-7) In touch, ridden 4 out, soon weakened, 11th of 14, well behind Spectested (11-11) at Wetherby 3m 1f nov hcp hdl 0-95 (F) sft in Dec.