There is a reasonable prize pot for the handicap chase over almost three miles, and it's attracted a nice looking field.
Solstice Star has looked full of potential in his first two attempts over the larger obstacles this season, finishing third at Uttoxeter and then second at Carlisle last time out. Both of those races were over two and a half miles so he steps up in distance here today, which I think will suit him. He looked at home racing over three miles when hurdling, so I think the longer distance over fences may bring out further improvement in him. Champion jockey Richard Johnson takes the ride again and I expect a big run from him.
The Ben Pauling trained Nobuttaboy was fourth last time out in a decent handicap at Ascot over 25 furlongs, and he has been lowered by two pounds subsequently. He ran well for a long way that day and the drop in trip by a couple of furlongs looks sure to suit him. The Pauling yard has been in excellent form recently, with a strike rate of over 35% for the past couple of weeks, and with Daryl Jacob on board again this looks an opportunity to be involved here.
Saint John Henry, trained by David Pipe, was pulled up last time out at Exeter after a bad mistake cost him any chance of being involved. He was quite impressive at Chepstow prior to that, however, winning over 26 furlongs on his first chase start and jumping well. If he can have a clear round here today then he is in with a shout, although it may be the case that he is better over further than three miles, as he stayed on well in the win at Chepstow.
The Emma Lavelle trained Full Irish was outpaced when it mattered at Warwick last time out. That was over two miles though and he makes a huge step up in distance in this one. He did win over 21 furlongs over hurdles in heavy going at Leicester, therefore, it appears he does possess a useful amount of stamina. It will be interesting to see how he takes to this extra distance, but there is definite ability there and he could prove dangerous if lasting home.
Solstice Star - 1 point @ 3/1