Schinken Otto has leading claims and can complete a hat-trick at the expense of Flake, Dalriath and Kind Sir. Since teaming up with Graham Lee on a regular basis, Schinken Otto has really found his form, the partnership having now visited the winner's enclosure three times. Still only aged five, Malcolm Jefferson's charge has room for lots more improvement over fences, despite having risen around a stone in the weights since scoring over the course-and-distance in June. That was on slightly faster ground, and that would be the only negative for this front-runner, but he should have enough stamina to last out and gain a third course win. Flake tired in the closing stages when in with every chance at Worcester and now drops back in trip so should be in at the finish as well, while Dalriath is likely to be taken off his feet and forced into mistakes. Kind Sir may attempt to take the selection on in the lead, but does not have the same turn of foot and will no doubt be outpaced. All in all, we have no hesitation in putting up Schinken Otto as a solid selection.
Flake 6-1 (11-5) Took keen hold, prominent, led after 11th, ridden and headed last, weakened flat and lost 2nd near finish, 3rd of 7, 9l behind Sharaab (10-8) at Worcester 2m 4f hcp chs 0-105 (4) gd in Aug.
Schinken Otto (IRE) 5-4fav (10-13) Tracked leaders, mistake 3rd, soon led, ridden after 2 out, kept on, won at Southwell 2m nov hcp chs 0-105 (4) gd in Aug beating Thedublinpublican (11-7) by 1/2l, 7 ran.
Kercabellec (FR) 9-1 (10-10) Chased leaders, led approaching 6th to 8th, ridden after next, weakened after 3 out, 4th of 7, 19l behind Neltina (11-12) at Towcester 2m hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd in Jun.
Dalriath 20-1 (9-9) Held up, mistake 3rd and 9th, went moderate to 3rd before 2 out, 3rd of 10, 23l behind Cheeky Lad (9-11) at Stratford 2m 1f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gf.
Just Different (IRE) 20-1 (10-10) Led, headed approaching 3rd, weakened quickly 10th, blundered next, tailed off when pulled up 5 out in race won by Amadeus (10-10) at N Abbot 2m 5f hcp chs 0-105 (4) sft in Jun, 11 ran.
Kind Sir 6-1 (11-1) Led, mistake 7th, ridden and headed 4 out, weakened after 3 out, 5th of 7, 32l behind Rash Moment (10-9) at Stratford 2m 7f hcp chs 0-105 (4) gf in Aug.
Gipsy Cricketer 13-2 (10-6) Held up, headway and not fluent 9th, soon chasing leaders, stayed on same pace, 3rd of 8, 4 1/2l behind Call Me Edward (11-6) at Huntingdon 2m hcp chs 0-100 (4) gf in Aug.