TEMPLEGATE is back with his ultimate guide to today's ITV racing action.
Read on to get a grip on all the big horses in the biggest races. Good luck!
WAR LORD loved the heavy ground when scoring over course and distance last month.
He ploughed through the ground and would have won by a lot further but for idling in the closing stages. That was in this grade and he looks the one to beat.
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Albert’s Back came back to hurdling in style for a smooth success at Wetherby. He wasn’t stopping at the end of two miles and has more to offer at this higher level. Our Power won a hot contest at Kempton last season and came back with a solid effort at Cheltenham before chasing home War Lord here.
He’s better off at the weights but would prefer more of a trip.
Chirico Vallis has been in good heart and went close again at Bangor last month. Talented youngster Kevin Brogan takes 7lb off which brings him right into this. He goes in the mud and will try to pull off his usual front-running effort. The Last Day can’t be ruled out as he switches from chasing.
He has been off more than a year but landed a decent Aintree handicap at his best and has a lot less weight over hurdles.
McGowan’s Pass has been going well in the mud and was just collared at Ayr last time.
HILL SIXTEEN has put in two much improved performances since moving to Nigel Twiston-Davies and looks the ideal horse for this stamina test.
He won by half of Ffos Las on debut for the yard before going over hurdles last time for a smooth Newbury success.
He loves testing ground and is clearly still improving.
Sojourn is lightly raced and came back from almost a year off to score in style at Carlisle.
That was over a similar trip in the mud so he’ll have no trouble getting home.
An 11lb rise in the weights is a little harsh but he’ll be right there again.
Enqarde has chase form in France and has been going well over hurdles since moving to Dr Newland. He stays well and likes soft.
Roll Again had plenty left in the tank when scoring at Ludlow and is another who won’t be stopping at the line.
Lord Napier looks a real marathon runner in the making and has place claims after a good Chepstow second.
BENNYS KING could be the answer to this wide open race.
He showed lots of encouragement coming back from a long break at Aintree last time.
He should be fitter for that and went down in a tight finish on his last visit here.
Saint Sonnet got no luck in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and is capable of winning at this level. He stays and will like the soft ground.
Saint De Vassy had 11 lengths in hand when scoring in the mud at Exeter and can improve past a 10lb rise in the weights.
Early Du Lemo went close at Sandown returning from almost two years off. That was only 15 days ago and he has a chance if this is not too soon. Mengli Khan has moved from Gordon Elliott to Nicky Henderson and could improve.
Drumcliff went close here latest and is shortlisted.
THYME HILL got the better of a rusty Paisley Park at Newbury last time and can confirm the form.
Richard Johnson’s mount dug deep last time and will be right at home in these testing conditions.
He has few miles on the clock and there’s more to come.
Paisley Park is a class act who won this in 2018 but he didn’t defend his crown because of the muddy conditions. It will be plenty testing today which is a concern.
Main Fact just keeps on improving and pulled out more when making it nine wins on the spin at Haydock.
This is much his toughest assignment but will like the ground and stays well.
Roksana bounced back to win a Wetherby Grade 2 last time in the soft. This is hotter but she gets weight and has place claims.
Thistlecrack won this back in 2015 and is worth a market check returning from a long break. He could run into the places if fit enough.
REGAL ENCORE is a different horse at Ascot where he has four wins and three places on his CV.
He won this in 2016 and 2019 and took a Grade 3 on his last visit in October. He has scored off this mark before and likes it soft so should go close again.
The Conditional is the biggest threat after his cracking third in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury. His best form has come in testing ground.
Beware The Bear is another who likes it here. He won the Ultima at the Festival and has solid place claims.
Espoir De Guye battled on well to score over 2m5f here last month and shapes as though this trip will be fine. He is on the shortlist.
Quaranta is another who had a course success last time when staying strongly. A 5lb rise for that looks fair.
Ardlethen was a good sixth in the Ladbrokes and has more to come from what looks a lowly mark.
KID COMMANDO was hugely impressive when winning a good race here in October ahead of Malaya.
He can confirm that form after not enjoying the step up in trip at Haydock latest.
Buzz was impressive here last time and could cope with an 11lb rise. This trip is ideal and there should be more to come.
Not So Sleepy is 15lb higher than when winning this last year but can’t be ruled out.
Arrivederci was cantering at Haydock before a late fall and could bounce back.
Benson is another with major claims after making it three wins on the spin in testing ground at Sandown latest.
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