Two from two for the season so far, the Tolworth winner looks a really talented sort. He is a big player.
Stable companion A Toi Phil turned a Grade Two into a procession last time out. He is reportedly going well at home and appears to be a leading contender for the Irish. He should not be out of the frame. Vigil, fifth in the Festival Bumper (twice) will appreciate better ground. The experience at the track should be of help also.
: A Toi Phil
No More Heroes has been a revelation since making the switch to fences. He goes into this race, which looks to have been the plan for some time, as Ireland’s leading contender. He could reach a very high level over the larger obstacles.
Roi Des Francs appears to be another key player for the travelling contingent. This smart chaser won with a bit in hand on his last two starts and he should not be dismissed lightly.
Shaneshill ran a poor race at Doncaster but has a good record at Cheltenham.
No More Heroes
Roi Des Francs
Diamond King made the move to the Gordon Elliot stable at the start of this season and has been on an upward curve since. He won well last time out and left the impression there was plenty more to come.
Blazer looked to have plenty in hand when winning a handicap hurdle at Leopardstown last month. He disappointed in the Betfair Hurdle but that is easily forgiven as the race may have come too soon. The step up to two and a half miles should aid his cause.
Blood Cotil was a respectable fifth in the Coral.ie Handicap Chase off top weight and should improve on what was his first outing of the campaign. He looks to be in with a chance, off a lighter rating than his chase mark.
Un De Sceaux has won anytime he’s stayed upright, and last year’s Arkle winner is the horse to beat. In an ordinary looking renewal, he should give Ireland a first Champion Chase win since 2011.
Felix Yonger is a consistent type and can make the frame with a big run. Special Tiara was placed in the race last season but has perhaps missed his chance of winning the two-mile championship. Sizing Granite looked a very smart chaser in the making when winning at Aintree last season. Better ground should see him return to form.
Un De Sceaux
Enda Bolger, the king of the cross country scene, holds the key to this race, with two-time course winner Josies Orders. Three wins in his last three runs in this type of contest, he looks tailor-made for the race. Having accounted for many of those in opposition already, he will be many people’s idea of the Irish banker.
Bolger is also represented by Quantitativeeasing, who was carried out here 12 months ago when travelling well. Rivage D’or won the race last season but has plenty to find with the favourite.
Campeador appears to be our leading hope. A winner in France over the summer, he ran well to finish fourth behind Apple’s Jade on his Irish debut, in what looked a strong Grade Two.
Voix Du Reve was narrowly beaten on his sole Irish run, but has an abundance of experience from his time spent in France, and should shape well.
Voix Du Reve
Augusta Kate looks the best of the Mullins string. She has been electric in two starts to date and, coupled with her mares’ allowance, looks a leading player.
Battleford, an impressive performer on his only outing this season, is another contender for the all-conquering trainer.
First Figaro, trained by Dermot Weld, has the upper hand on most of these, as it is his second season in bumpers. He merits consideration on good ground. New To This Town has done nothing wrong and could go close.