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Time for Roach to bag a Foxhunter

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Time Leader and Spyglass offer the best chance of continued home-grown success on the Randox Foxhunter Chase, the second of the three "classics" of the amateur season tomorrow at Aintree. 

Twenty-two runners line up for the thrill of a lifetime - a circuit of Aintree's Grand National fences, but rarely nowadays, the ground will be soft or heavy, which always throws up some imponderables.

Time Leader has enjoyed a successful season to date for trainer Hannah Roach and his owners from the North Staffordshire. A faacile win at the Portman in mid-November was followed by an uncharacteristic pull up at Chaddesley in the Wheatland 3 weeks later. He prepped neatly for Cheltenham with a bloodless 7l win at Hereford before running an excellent race to finish 6 1/4l behind Sine Nomine, 5l adrift of It's on The Line, who re-opposes. 

Spyglass, a product of the de Bromhead yard, is now trained by Regan Pallas in Bridgend. His 1/2l beating of Iskander Pecos in the Walrus Hunters Chase at Haydock in February has been paid a compliment by the latter horse's recent Hereford win. Leading rider James King takes the ride.

Both, however, will have their work cut out to match the quality of the two leading Irish candidates in It's On The Line from Emmet Mullins, and Annamix, from Willie Mullins Closutton winner machine.

It's On The Line was touched off by Sine Nomine in the Cheltenham Foxhunter and is a justifibale favourite to go one better. Barring that Cheltenham second, he is unbeaten in three runs this season at Drumahane, Dromore and Naas. Emmet Mullins is of course no stranger to Aintree success, having farmed the Grand National with Noble Yeats.

Annamix was pulled up behind It's On The Line at Naas but has won since at Gowran Park. The younger It's On The Line may have the legs on him though.

Emmet Mullins also saddles Romeo Magico, a winner at Limerick and Dromore this term. However, the Limerick race was a maiden; this is an altogether tougher ask. 

Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero saddles Gaboriot, a winner at Catterick. Formerly owned by Peter Daresbury, who is no stranger to Aintree, that sales may in itself give an answer. I can't see Daresbury giving up an opportunity to win a Foxhunter at the racecourse he chaired for so long. Gaboriot has 18lb to find on the ratings with the top-rated It's on The Line.

Paul Nicholls always relishes this race, and the prize money is sufficiently large to keep him interested to sustain his Trainers' Championship claims. French-bred Cap de Methan has had a sparing campaign, with just one winning run at Leicester in March. Daughter Olive Nicholls will be in the plate.

Championship rival Dan Skelton fields Bennys King, also a Leicester winner but well beaten behind Sine Nomine at Wetherby in February. He has something to find, unless Aintree's fences bring out something extra. That Leicester win should rule out Gordon Elliott's Hardline, 23l behind that day.

A satellite yard of Ditcheat, Sam Loxton has entered Espoir de Guye. A winner at Wincanton when beating Famous Clermont, a previous winner of this race, he was more recently behind Captain Tommy at Ludlow and reopposes. Both have something to find to be in the finish.Also from the Loxton yard is Drop Flight, an Exeter winner.

Lieutenant Rocco was behind Espoir de Guye at Wincanton, and there's no reason to suggest he can reverse that form for trainer Syd Hosie.

Given a clear run, Time Leader is preferred to keep the race at home

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