Be Definite won on his reappearance at Stratford but didn't find much off the bridle when only fourth off this mark at Doncaster three weeks ago. Rouge Et Blanc needs to bounce back from a recent mishap at Hereford but is still at the right end of the handicap, while Ffos Las third Jumps Road and Warwick fourth Zafranagar have claims stepping into a handicap and Eastlake has plenty of experience. MENTALIST is only a four-year-old but is a sound jumper of fences and his recent win at Ludlow was more than deserved. He could be good enough to double his tally today.
Fintan 7-1 (11-12) Held up towards rear, took keen hold, headway approaching 6th, not fluent 8th, outpaced after 3 out, weakened next, 5th of 7, 15l behind George Nympton (11-7) at Warwick 2m hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft.
Jumps Road 6-1 (11-2) Mid-division, headway on outside 7th, not fluent 11th, disputing 2nd when mistake 4 out, stayed on same pace from 2 out, 3rd of 11, 5l behind Howard's Legacy (11-2) at Ffos Las 2m 3f beg chs (3) sft in Nov.
Eastlake (IRE) 20-1 (11-9) Raced wide in touch, headway to chase leading pair from 5th, ridden before 7th, weakened after 4 out, tailed off, 7th of 11, 45l behind Royale's Charter (11-12) at Taunton 2m hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Oct.
Be Definite (IRE) 2-1fav (11-0) Tracked leader until before 2 out, soon ridden, kept on same pace, 4th of 6, 2 1/2l behind Kings Grey (11-12) at Doncaster 2m 3f hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Nov.
Zafranagar (IRE) 12-1 (11-1) Tracked leaders in 4th, one pace from 4 out, well held when blundered 2 out, 4th of 7, 30l behind Hazy Tom (11-1) at Warwick 2m nov chs (3) sft in Nov.
Gandalfe (FR) 66-1 (11-0) Chased leader until blundered 10th, weakened after next, behind when blundered 13th, soon tailed off, eased when blundered 3 out, 7th of 8, well behind Grandioso (11-0) at Wincanton 2m 5f beg chs (3) sft.
Mentalist (FR) 6-4fav (10-6) Tracked leaders, not fluent 4th, closed next, went 2nd 6th, led 4 out, headed 2 out, jumped right last, led flat, driven out, won at Ludlow 2m hcp chs 0-125 (3) sft in Nov beating My Brother Sylvest (11-12) by 3/4l, 6 ran.
Rouge Et Blanc (FR) 13-2 (11-2) In touch when blundered and unseated rider 6th, in a race won by No No Bingo (11-5) at Hereford 2m 3f hcp chs 0-115 (4) hvy, 12 ran.