Donald McCain has a good chance of landing the opener and should be on the mark here with CHARMINSTER. Already successful in a hurdle, a bumper and a point-to-point, the five-year-old reappears after a break in this but looks to have much more scope than his rivals. Flinty Bay has finished third at Aintree and Catterick recently but has also unseated his rider twice over fences, while the headstrong Laterly jumped poorly on his chasing bow at Bangor. King's Counsel is a better hurdler than Freddie Brown but finished tailed off when tried over the larger obstacles at Doncaster earlier this month.
Charminster (IRE) 2-9fav (11-4) Tracked clear leader, joined leader on bit after 3 out, led before next, clear before last, hard held, won at Sedgefield 2m 1f nov hdl (4) gs in Jan beating Shan Blue (11-4) by 17l, 11 ran.
Flinty Bay (IRE) Evensfav (11-3) Held up towards rear, headway 10th, ridden to go 3rd before last, one pace, 3rd of 8, 21l behind Our Mick (11-3) at Catterick 2m 3f beg chs (5) gd in Nov.
Freddie Brown 7-2fav (10-12) Pulled hard, mid-division in touch on outside, chased leaders 4 out until after next, soon weakened, pulled up before last, in a race won by Lady Bluesky (11-0) at Kelso 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) sft, 10 ran.
King's Counsel (IRE) 25-1 (10-13) Held up towards rear, never a factor, 4th of 6, well behind Sprinter Sacre (10-10) at Doncaster 2m nov chs (4) gd.
Laterly (IRE) 10-1 (11-1) Keen early, led, jumped left 1st, pecked next, headed 6th, tracked winner, lost 2nd 4 out, outpaced by leading pair after next, soon no impression, last of 3, 14l behind Peddlers Cross (11-1) at Bangor 2m 1f beg chs (4) gs in Nov.