The 2016 Betfred Grand National Trial Handicap Chase winner Bishops Road unfortunately misses the race having been reported to have worked poorly this week by trainer Kerry Lee.
Heading the market is the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained RSA Chase winner Blaklion at 6/1 generally and from a mark of 152 he is an interesting contender. The stable is in outstanding form and this horse stays all day and has proven class.
However, the Philip Hobbs trained Kruzhlinin looks a fair price at 8/1 with one or two online bookmakers for this three mile four furlong test. This veteran ten-year-old will be having his 20th start over fences on Saturday and comes into the race in the form of his life.
On his penultimate run, Kruzhlinin won the Grade 3 Fixed Brush handicap hurdle and he followed that up with a solid second behind Our Kaempfer; a well handicapped horse he was giving 8lb to that day.
His ability to really see out this trip will depend on the fluency of his jumping, but if the horse gets into a good rhythm he certainly has what it takes to draw the sting out of the majority of this field. At healthy enough looking odds of 8/1, he looks a solid each way horse-racing tip for the weekend.
At huge odds of 40/1, a chance can be taken on Venetia Williams’ out of form but dangerously well handicapped Katenko, who stands out on a mark of 134. Having been rated 157 as recently as 2014, his fall in form has been stark and true, but Williams is an excellent trainer and it would be little surprise if this horse springs up one day at a big price when primed for the occasion.
Others to note include Gas Line Boy, a horse that stays as long as the in laws and shouldn’t be too far away, while David Pipe’s Vieux Lion Rouge and Doctor Harper also catch the eye as likely contenders.