15:25 Aintree: Russian War can go against the trends
Russian War goes massively against two of the major trends associated with winners of the John Smith’s Handicap Chase, but 10/1 looks a big price that he upsets the apple cart to retain a 100 per cent Aintree record.
Gordon Elliott’s charge was successful when visiting over hurdles at this meeting two years ago and after a patchy period, he looked rejuvenated over fences towards the end of last season.
This ended with a victory at Uttoxeter off an official rating of 135 and he will take part at Aintree off a 4lb lower mark.
The fact he tends to come late with his challenge is not ideal for the demands of Aintree, while his lack of a recent run is a worry based on the results of this contest in the last 20 years.
Further against him in the eyes of some punters could be that 14 of the last 16 winners had been aged nine or younger.
But, he is one of only three horses in the field with course-winning form.
One of the better guides for this in recent years has been the Byrne Group Plate at the Cheltenham Festival, although none of the finishers from that race are chancing their arm here.
Cantlow broke a tiny capillary in his nose just before the off and was withdrawn, but trainer Paul Webber immediately insisted afterwards that the horse was fine.
Victory here will be somewhat of a consolation and he is yet to finish out of the first two from four chase starts.
Cantlow is 6/1 and the big question mark over his chances would be that this represents a big hike in trip, as he has not previously competed over anything further than 2m3f over fences.
He was previously third in the Pertemps Final over hurdles at Cheltenham though over 3m, so this would indicate that he probably should stay.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.