Coo Star Sivola – 13:45 Kempton
Coo Star Sivola is usually a pretty sound jumper over conventional fences, but he didn’t get very far tackling the national fences for the first time in the Becher Chase at Aintree last time, unseating at the sixth. That came on the back of a positive showing at Bangor on his seasonal reappearance, showing plenty of enthusiasm and ability, shaping much better than the bare result. Coo Star Sivola is by no means a stranger to a big-field handicap win, having landed the Ultima at the Cheltenham Festival back in 2018, and he can now race off 5 lb lower than when winning that coveted prize, so he must be taken seriously in what is an open-looking race.
McFabulous – 14:20 Kempton
One of the best British-trained bumper horses around when racing in that sphere back in 2018/19, McFabulous looked to be finally coming into his own over hurdles when landing his final two races of last season, and he picked up where he left off on his return to action in the Persian War at Chepstow in October, bolting up in impressive style. Up in grade, McFabulous strictly progressed again as he finished third to Thyme Hill and Paisley Park in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in November, though that was probably in spite of the step up in trip, not because of, and back down to what is seemingly his optimum distance here, he looks difficult to beat.
Chti Balko – 15:57 Kempton
Chti Balko shaped as if needing the run after 10 months off when last of six at Bangor in November, but, with that run under his belt, he took advantage of a drop in the weights to run out an emphatic winner at Haydock last month, 11 lengths ahead at the last before boing still further clear on the run-in. He is up 6 lb for that win, but he handles soft ground very well, and looks weighted to go close again for Donald McCain, who has been among the winners of late.