Third in the Grand National when last in action, Vintage Clouds has gone well fresh before and is not out of this. Captain Redbeard has a recent run over hurdles under his belt having won a chase in heavy going over a shorter trip here last year while Takingrisks also reverts to chasing after making a winning comeback in a handicap hurdle at Ayr. But BRAQUEUR D’OR returned to winning ways on fast ground at Taunton last week and though this is tougher, there should be more to come from Paul Nicholls’ charge now he’s got his head back in front. Buywise has lost his way since scoring at Sandown in January though is still preferred to Delusionofgrandeur if back to his best.
Captain Redbeard (IRE) 28-1 (11-8) Prominent, hit 2nd, led before 6th, headed approaching 2 out, no extra closing stages, 3rd of 9, 6 3/4l behind Aspen Colorado (10-5) at Carlisle 2m 4f hcp (2) gd in Nov.
Vintage Clouds (IRE) 12-1 (10-12) Prominent, led 19th, hit 23rd, headed 3 out, 3rd and held flat, stayed on same pace, 3rd of 29, 4l behind Joe Farrell (10-6) at Ayr 4m hcp (1) gd in Apr.
Buywise (IRE) 18-1 (11-12) Held up, always in rear, struggling before 5 out, tailed off, 6th of 8, dist behind Exitas (11-4) at Aintree 3m 1f hcp (2) gd in Oct.
Braqueur D'Or (FR) 5-4fav (11-9) 2nd or 3rd, not fluent 8th, challenged 3 out, led next, clear last, comfortably, won at Taunton 2m 7f hcp (3) gf in Nov beating Fox Appeal (11-9) by 6l, 3 ran.
Delusionofgrandeur (IRE) 22-1 (11-0) Led, headed 3rd, led again 10th, ridden 13th, headed 4 out, tracked leaders, left 5th at last, 5th of 12, 17 1/2l behind Yala Enki (11-12) at Bangor 3m hcp (2) gs in Nov.
Takingrisks (IRE) 3-1fav (10-10) Tracked leaders, led before not fluent last, pressed flat but stayed on well and always holding rival, won at Ayr 3m hcp (3) gd in Nov beating Justatenner (10-7) by 1/2l, 9 ran.