Since Shishkin was withdrawn, Pic D'Orhy
has risen to the head of the market. Paul Nicholls' eight-year-old has won both of his starts this term, including an impressive victory in the Peterborough Chase, and race sponsors Coral
list Pic D'Orhy as their 11/10 favourite.
Sam Thomas runs Angels Breath
, who hasn't been seen since two novice chase victories for Nicky Henderson in the autumn of 2019. The sixth and final runner is Tom George's 11-year-old, Clondaw Castle
, who'll also be making his first start of the season.
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Coole Cody was gifted a Grade Two win in the 1965 Chase last time out. I expect Saint Calvados to improve for that first run, but I don't fancy touching either in this much more competitive race.
Angels Breath is of interest on his first start for Sam Thomas. Sam Twiston-Davies' mount ran up to a decent level as a novice chaser when last seen, but he'd have to have improved some ten pounds to trouble the top two in the market, and I can't see Angels Breath producing that sort of performance on the back of a 1120-day absence.
Given his record around Kempton and that career-best effort in the Peterborough Chase last time out, Pic D'Orhy is a worthy favourite. At the prices, I'd rather side with PAINT THE DREAM, who also travels to Kempton on the back of his finest performance to date.
Fergal O'Brien's charge carried 12-00 into what looked like a competitive handicap at Newbury and turned the race into a procession, clocking a fantastic RPR of 167 in sealing that 12-length triumph.
While that win may only have come at handicap level, Paint The Dream has produced plenty of big performances at Graded level too. O'Brien's nine-year-old finished second in the Dipper back in 2020, third in the 2021 Scilly Isles around Sandown, and registered a fourth-place finish in the Melling Chase at Aintree last season, having romped to victory in the Greatwood Gold Cup on his previous start.
Paint The Dream is rated three pounds higher than Pic D'Orhy and Conor Brace's mount will be getting two pounds from the favourite at the weights. For me, he's the one to beat.