This is a brand new race for the festival and judging by the number of entries (a modern-day record 216) the race has been an instant hit with trainers and one in particular, David Pipe, has signalled his intention to win the race named in honour of his father by entering 26, which has now been whittled down to eight!
The problem for punters is that his fancied ones are all very short prices. Take Big Eared Fran (5/1 Paddy Power), for example. He was a very good winner at Sandown on Saturday and looks well-in here with just a 5lb penalty, but 5/1 is stingy for a race of this nature, especially when you consider he needs genuine good ground to show his best, which he might not get here.
Mamlook (7/1 Ladbrokes) is the Pipe second-string according to the betting and his time isn't far away judging by his run at Ascot last time when a close fourth to Serabad, only giving best in the closing stages. A good enough stayer on the flat to go close over 2m4f at Royal Ascot, it was no surprise to see him run well on his first attempt at 2m4f over hurdles, but the concern with him is the track as he run poorly on both his starts at Cheltenham.
Pipe also runs: Buena Vista, Pauillac, Piraya, Gaspara, Acambo and Prince De Bersy but, apart from Buena Vista (12/1 bet365), who ran a fine second in the Pertemps Final (over 4f further!), it's hard to enthuse over the others, although you can't blame Pipe for running them.
So who can spoil the family party? Well, Alan King's Penn Da Benn (12/1 Blue Square) won with a bit to spare at Wincanton last time so is worth a second look, while Little Shilling (16/1 Coral) has won his last six starts (five hurdles, one chase) and may not be finished yet.
However, the one that takes my eye is HANGOVER, who would be a very aptly named winner of the penultimate race of the festival. He's won three races in Ireland this season, including a very competitive handicap last time out, all on very soft ground, but his pedigree (by Presenting) suggests he'll be at least equally effective on better ground and he might even improve for it. He'll also have the services of the young star of the Irish jockey's room, Paul Townend.
bet365 go five places on this race and they just happen to be joint biggest on the selction at 14/1, so they deserve your business.
Hangover 1pt each way @ 14/1 bet365 (1/4 odds, five places)