Racing: Don't rule out Barton Bank but the brandy should go to Bay

The former National Hunt jockey Steve Smith Eccles (right) gives a runner-by runner analysis of today's Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup Chase.
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Barton Bank: Although now 11, Barton Bank ran a cracker on his seasonal reappearance behind One Man at Wetherby. The flying grey franked the form by winning the Peterborough Chase and even with top-weight this old warhorse will put up a brave show.

Coome Hill: Back in contention after an injury scare following his third to Banjo at Cheltenham. In races of this calibre a horse has to be 100 per cent and last year's winner carries 24lb more on this occasion.

Suny Bay: An impressive winner at Haydock last week, he made all to win by 11 lengths. With more rain forecast, his chances can only improve and his jockey Graham Bradley is bullish.

Belmont King: No problems with stamina for Paul Nicholls' Scottish Grand National winner but his fitness may be questioned on his first appearance of the season.

Eudipe: This horse seems well held after also finishing behind Suny Bay at Haydock. I can't see too much improvement.

Trying Again: He is having his first run of the season but is nicely weighted and has Richard Dunwoody on board.

Djeddah: Francois Doumen's Djeddah is a young, progressive chaser but this is an awesome test.

General Wolfe: Second to Suny Bay in that Haydock event but whether he can make up 11 lengths on just 1lb better terms is another question.

Yorkshire Gale: Another evergreen campaigner but, unlike Barton Bank, I'm not convinced he retains his youthful enthusiasm.

Oh So Risky: A useful hurdler in his day but has limited chasing experience. He did take a tumble last time.

Time For A Run: He wasn't asked too many questions on his seasonal debut and will strip a lot fitter at Newbury. He will appreciate every drop of rain we get!

Bell Staffboy: He ran over hurdles last time but jumping is the name of the game in the Hennessy.

Grange Brake: Another 11-year-old. This definitely can't win!

Ciel De Brion: Another French raider who is well out of the handicap.

Conclusion: My old sparring partner Graham Bradley is convinced that SUNY BAY will land the prize and I agree with him. The grey is definitely the one they all have to beat but the veteran Barton Bank, who was runner up to Mr Mulligan in the Cheltenham Gold Cup back in March, and the progressive Trying Again will push "Brad" every inch of this extended three and a quarter miles.

Last week's selection for the First National Bank Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot, Simply Dashing, won at 4-1.

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