Colin Tizzard’s yard has been awash with classy staying chasers for the last few seasons and he has another on his hands in Slate House (2.25), who can land the Cotswold Chase on Cheltenham Trials day. A horse who travels strongly for a long way in his races, he can gain compensation for what happened here in November, when he knuckled over at the second-last in the BetVictor.
Slate House has won twice since then, including in the Kauto Star, for which he gets only a half-penalty. He makes more appeal than Santini, so underwhelming at Sandown in the autumn, and it is surprising to see him at a much bigger price. Bristol De Mai is respected but has yet to win at Cheltenham in four visits.
1.50 Cheltenham The progressive My Way bumped into a well-treated rival at Ascot last time but kept on gamely into second and seems to have got his confidence back after a nasty October fall. Still only six, he has more to offer.
2.05 Doncaster Reeled in up the famous hill in a Grade Two at Cheltenham last month, Champagne Well can go one place better in these less testing circumstances. Boss Man Fred needs to step up on a handicap win achieved from a mark of 124.
2.40 Doncaster The upstart Floressa is respected, having managed two wins and a narrow defeat from three starts over hurdles but Lady Buttons is the class act in this field and can repeat her success in this race last year.
3.00 Cheltenham Pitched into Grade Two company on his hurdles debut at Ascot, Time Flies By coped well as far as the straight, when the very testing surface took its toll. A bumper winner here in October, he can do better again this time.
3.15 Doncaster OK Corral is tempting for this Great Yorkshire, having come down the weights a bit, though there is still the suspicion that big-field handicaps may not be his thing. Ravenhill Road will go well if he settles but Good Man Pat might be the best bet at 12-1 or so. He has been a work in progress for a long time but he should be helped by this return to three miles in a race his stable has won twice in the past four years.
3.35 Cheltenham This is a stern examination for Paisley Park but he should be more forward than for his reappearance a couple of months ago and it is a long time since he looked really vulnerable. In receipt of 6lb, L’Ami Serge makes each-way appeal, though he has been notoriously tricky to win with.