Milborough heads familiar cast in north-east marathon
Betfred Eider Handicap Chase | 4m½f l 5yo+ | ITV4/ATR
Previous winners Milborough and Portrait King are back for another crack at the Tyneside marathon, with the latter, who scored in 2012, making his fourth appearance in the race.
The line-up also features other old faces such as last year's runner-up Shotgun Paddy and fourth-placed Mysteree, while Knockanrawley filled the same position in 2015.
A win for seven-year-old Alto Des Mottes would be a fairytale for North Yorkshire permit holder Henry Hogarth, who combines training ten horses with running his farm near York.
He said: "We're only a family outfit and I own all the horses myself so it would be great if he could do it. It would be our biggest win by far."
Punters have found this about as gruelling as the horses, with only one winning favourite in the past decade.
What they say
Sue Smith, trainer of Straidnahanna and Smooth Stepper
We'll take them there and have a look at the ground as they're forecast further rain, which might be a problem for Straidnahanna, who has top-weight. Smooth Stepper likes it around Newcastle but the ground would be an unknown.
Neil King, trainer of Milansbar
We're hoping to get his season back on track after a couple of disappointments. He likes mud and four miles so we'll give it ago.
Michael Scudamore, trainer of Streets Of Promise and Mysteree
Streets Of Promise improved with every run last year but badly needed her comeback run last time. She's shown she stays this sort of trip and Ben Poste takes off a handy 3lb. Mysteree was fourth in the race last year and this has been his target all season. He wasn't suited to going around Plumpton on quick ground last time and should go well.
Emma Lavelle, trainer of Shotgun Paddy
He was second in it last year and we're hopeful of another good show, but in these conditions it's going to be attritional. He's lightly raced this year which may help.
Warren Greatrex, trainer of Out Sam
It's a shame the weights have gone up but this has been his main objective all season and he goes there in good shape. He ran a cracker in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster last time when Andrew Tinkler got off him and said he wants further.
Ian Duncan, trainer of Milborough
We've run him over hurdles this season primarily to protect his handicap mark and we've targeted another crack at this for a long time. He's on a similar mark now to when he won it and is a better chaser than hurdler.
Kerry Lee, trainer of Mountainous and Russe Blanc
It's difficult to pick between them but they're both heavy-ground specialists who haven't had their ground until now. Both have good chances.
Kim Bailey, trainer of Knockanrawley
It's been the plan all along to target this race, in which he finished fourth a couple of years ago. He's lightly raced so we're hopeful.
Henry Hogarth, trainer of Alto Des Mottes
He's proved he can stay, loves soft ground and has won on heavy so we're going there full of hope.
Charlie Mann, trainer of Morney Wing
He ran poorly last time but he's never run well on right-handed tracks. It's a bit of a lottery but he'll like the ground.
Sandy Thomson, trainer of Harry The Viking
He's been out hunting to cheer him up as he didn't like going around Catterick last time. His low weight will be a help in the conditions.