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Shotgun Paddy and Boyfromnowhere clash in Warwick Classic

The market for Saturday’s Warwick Classic Chase was given an upheaval on Thursday by the withdrawal of several of the leading contenders. Alfie Sherrin, Merlins Wish and On His Own were all taken out along with top weight Teaforthree.

Teaforthree is trained by Rebecca Curtis who had signalled her intention not to run her Grand National third in the testing conditions at Warwick. She will now be represented by Southern National winner Boyfromnowhere who saw out the trip well that day in heavy ground.

He had previously finished 22 lengths adrift of Emma Lavelle’s Shotgun Paddy at Chepstow over three miles but is now 16lbs better off at the weights. Shotgun Paddy has twice finished behind the useful novice Black Thunder subsequently and is expected to appreciate this step up in distance.

Black Thunder looks to be one of the better novices around at the moment so it was no disgrace to get within three lengths of him at Lingfield. It may even have been closer but for a crucial mistake at the second last.

The weights are now headed by 2011 Hennessy Gold Cup winner Carruthers who looks to have a tough task on his seasonal reappearance. Hey Big Spender won this race in 2012 and won at Newcastle before being pulled up in the Welsh National.

Master Overseer won the Midlands National in 2012 for David Pipe but has not been out since March. Nigel Twiston-Davies is doubly represented with festival winner Same Difference joined by the lowly weighted Major Malarkey.

Willie Mullins relies on Vesper Bell who got no further than the first fence in the Becher Chase at Aintree last time. He was quietly fancied that day and has shown a liking for soft ground in the past.

Loch Ba ran on doggedly to take second at Haydock last time out and has a good racing weight whilst Any Currency ran well in the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham in December. Having been outpaced on the turn, he ran on strongly in the closing stages to finish second to Sire Collonges.