Rarely do you see a competitive handicap like the Munster National won is such facile fashion but Total Recall, on his first start since moving yards from Sandra Hughes to Willie Mullins, won with any amount in hand and is clearly the one to beat @ 5/1. If one wanted to pick holes in his victory at Limerick, Alpha Des Obeaux does not seem to stay three miles on soft ground which may have made the finish look visually more impressive than it was. That is not to take anything away from Total Recall but this is by no means a one horse race and there is plenty of value to be had in the field.
American is another who could be well ahead of the handicapper, given a quiet campaign last season, only raced three times, he was never tested at the top tables and this strong traveller could yet be anything and has to come into calculations @ 7/1. Second season chasers fare well in this race, which is a bonus for Total Recall and American but also Whisper, Genie In A Bottle, Singlefarmpayment and Badger Ales winner Present Man.
Whisper @ 8/1, like American, a strong traveller, was only bested by Might Bite last season, looks tailor made for this trip and should be bang there three out with the only worry that he can lack fluency over his jumps. Genie In A Bottle is a tough stayer but may just lack the class to win this while Present Man showed a real determination to hold on in testing ground at Wincanton but that could have left its mark and it will take a serious effort to reproduce or better that run only twenty one days since.
Singlefarmpayment teed up for this race with a good second at Cheltenham and will surely be on the premises @ 7/1. His impressive victor at Cheltenham, Cogry, has produced two quality displays in his last two starts, jumping well, which had always been his Achilles heel and will no doubt attempt a bold display out front @ 25/1. Horses who have performed well in this race previously can often go well again and Carole’s Destrier who finished strongly behind Native River last year, only beaten half a length, will surely be primed for a repeat @ 25/1 while Vyta Du Roc @ 10/1 was a good sixth twelve months ago and proved he can perform at this level when just touched off in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April.