Dempsey has fitness on his side and, assuming his tumble in the Champion Chase left no mental scares, he may be too sharp for Contraband, while River City, who was also in the process of running a big race at Cheltenham, is no forlorn hope to cause an upset and is worth keeping tabs on in the betting market. In truth, none of the quintet can confidently be ruled out and moves for Hoo la Baloo and Nyrche would not be without foundation when the best of their efforts are taken into consideration. However, Dempsey has the most solid recent profile and can get himself back on track if he stays out of trouble today. As there has to be a question over Contraband's well being, River City would be good value to boost the Forecast/Exacta return.
Contraband 11-1 (10-13) Held up, blundered badly 4th, some headway 8th, no further impression, 5th of 11, 37l behind Monkerhostin (10-5) at Exeter 2m 1f hcp chs Grd 2 (A) gs in Nov.
Nyrche (FR) 3-1 (10-11) Made all and jumped well, drew clear from 3 out, unchallenged, won at Ayr 2m hcp chs (2) gd beating Roman Ark (10-0) by 16l, 7 ran.
River City (IRE) 16-1 (11-10) Always behind and pulled up at the 10th in race won by Hi Cloy (11-10) at Aintree 2m 4f chs Grd 1 (1) gd, 11 ran.
Hoo La Baloo (FR) 15-2 (11-1) Held up, hit 3 out, ridden approaching next, no impression, 4th of 7, 16l behind Foreman (11-4) at Aintree 2m nov chs Grd 1 (1) gs.
Dempsey (IRE) 14-1 (11-10) Held up, in touch when brought down at the 3rd in race won by Newmill (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m chs Grd 1 (1) gd in Mar, 12 ran.