Skelton hopeful conditions will play to Shelford's strengths
Totepool Southern National Handicap Chase | 3m3½f | ITV4/ ATR
The Southern marathon welcomes back last year's second, third, fourth and sixth for this year's renewal, for which ten runners go to post.
Colin Tizzard, who won it two years ago with Golden Chieftain, relies on Fergal Mael Duin, who chased home Aerial a year ago and is one of four runners making their seasonal return.
Topweight Mosspark, who finished sixth a year ago, should strip fitter for his recent return at Wincanton and Giles Cross carried a similar burden of 11st 12lb when winning this in 2011.
The in-form Skelton team rely Shelford, who is back from a break after a busy summer in which he was twice placed at Listed level.
What they say
Emma Lavelle, trainer of Mosspark
He has a lot of ability but doesn't always want to share it. He can travel well and the trip will help him it just depends on which side of the bed he gets out of in the morning. If he turns up with his A-game he's very capable of winning.
Anthony Honeyball, trainer of Cresswell Breeze
This looks a good starting point for her and she has run well at Fontwell in the past. She hasn't won for a while but has run some good races in defeat and we would be looking at races like the London National at Sandown after this.
Dan Skelton, trainer of Shelford
He's been a great horse for us over the years and this trip and track could play to his strengths. He's back from a break and ready to roll.
Charlie Longsdon, trainer of Azure Fly
He knows plenty about the game but usually is thereabouts in these races and ran a decent race when sixth at Cheltenham last time. He can hit a flat spot in his races but this trip should suit him well and he has an each-way chance.
Chris Gordon, trainer of Bugsie Malone
He ran very well to be second on his seasonal comeback over hurdles but made a mistake at Cheltenham last time that knocked his confidence and he unseated after that. He's done lots of schooling since then and hopefully that was just a one-off.
Charlie Mann, trainer of Morney Wing
He ran fourth in the race a year ago when he could have finished closer but for getting left at the start. He could do with a bit of rain as he likes to get his toe in and would have finished in the first four at Cheltenham last time if he hadn't unseated.
David Dennis, trainer of Cyclop
He was third in it a year ago and was in need of the run when warming up over hurdles at Aintree last month. Ideally he needs a slog so we could do with some rain, but he's on a handy mark.
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