Second-placed finishes in the Long Walk Hurdle and the Coral Hurdle at Ascot, plus a current handicap mark of 152, suggests that he should be in the reckoning, but many will view the race as a wide-open handicap.
Wakanda has attracted interest this week after his fine run at Wetherby on Boxing Day, which has led to the belief that he can record his first victory since 2015. A fine jumper, Wakanda has previously won twice from higher handicap marks.
Another contender is former Grade 1 winner Flying Angel, who was third behind Definitly Red in the Many Clouds Chase last time out. Doubts remain whether he has the stamina to challenge the likes of L’ami Serge, but he shouldn’t be discounted on the back of a fine novice campaign.
Pilgrims Bay won the BetBright chase in 2017 and many are backing him to make the step up in a competitive field, whilst the ground is likely to suit Long House Hall for his fifth start over hurdles.
Formerly the Great Yorkshire Chase, the race has been won by the likes of Big Fella Thanks, Calgary Bay and The Rainbow Hunter in recent years, with Ziga Boy notching consecutive triumphs in 2016 and 2017.
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