The handicapper has done narrow Fontwell winner Arab League no favours, though he is the least exposed of these. Oasis Knight hasn't made the expected progress over timber and also looks up against it at the weights but Merehead shouldn't be far away if stepping up a little on a couple of placed efforts last term. Psi, successful at Fontwell 10 days ago, is another to consider while both Batonnier and Big Time Billy have shown enough to suggest they'll pick up a novice event before long. But we'll take a chance on the fitness of AIRMEN'S FRIEND, who was a progressive sort in the spring and looks handily weighted on his third at Huntingdon in March. Fontano may be best of the rest.
Oasis Knight (IRE) 25-1 (11-6) Led, not fluent 4th, clear 6th until mistake next, hit 8th, ridden and headed 3 out, weakened from next, last of 5, 44l behind Sizing Symphony (11-6) at Cheltenham 2m 5f nh nov hdl (2) gf.
Arab League (IRE) 6-4fav (10-12) Made all, soon 5 lengthes clear, strongly challenged from 3 out, hard ridden next, kept on well closing stages, won at Fontwell 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gd beating Grabtheglory (10-12) by 1/2l, 6 ran.
Richmond (FR) 11-8fav (10-13) Chased leaders, went 2nd 3rd, led approaching 3 out, narrowly headed and ridden when fell 2 out, in a race won by Street Entertainer (10-2) at Chepstow 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Apr, 12 ran.
Fontano (FR) 11-2 (11-7) Took keen hold, chased leaders, led 2 out, headed between last 2, one pace in 4th and held when switched left before last, kept on same pace flat, 5th of 10, 6l behind Dragon's Den (10-8) at Wincanton 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gd.
Merehead (FR) 11-4 (11-2) Mostly chased winner, ridden after 3 out, 2 lengths down when hit 2 out, no impression before last, 2nd of 14, 9l behind Henry King (11-9) at Taunton 2m 3f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Mar.
Batonnier (FR) 8-1 (11-0) Chased leaders, went 2nd 7th until 3 out, went 2nd again before next, challenged and every chance when mistake last, stayed on same pace flat, 2nd of 14, 1 1/4l behind Grandads Horse (11-0) at Southwell 2m 4f mdn hdl (5) gd in Apr.
Psi (USA) 10-1 (11-7) Patiently ridden towards rear, smooth headway on inside approaching 3 out, tracked clear leader after 3 out, led 2 out, came clear before last, comfortably, won at Fontwell 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-105 (4) gd beating Tarvini (11-11) by 10l, 12 ran.
Captain Sully (IRE) 16-1 (11-3) Held up in 5th, dropped to rear 6th, soon struggling, tailed off when left 4th 2 out, 4th of 6, well behind Ultimate (11-3) at Huntingdon 2m nov chs (3) gf.
Big Time Billy (IRE) 9-4fav (10-12) Chased leaders, went 2nd before 3 out, led approaching 2 out, mistake and headed 2 out, chased winner and kept on well under pressure from last, 2nd of 9, 1/2l behind Candelita (10-12) at Ffos Las 2m mdn hdl (4) gd.
Tom Wade (IRE) 11-2 (10-11) Disputed 2nd, challenged 4 out, led before next, 2 lengths clear when hit next, soon ridden, headed last, no extra flat, 2nd of 6, 6l behind Mush Mir (10-11) at Bangor 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Sep.
Airmen's Friend (IRE) 9-2 (10-13) Chased leaders, ridden before last, kept on, 3rd of 15, 9l behind Another Dimension (10-9) at Huntingdon 2m 4f mdn hdl (4) gs in Mar.
Thoresby (IRE) 8-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, headway after 7th, 4th and beaten when jumped left and mistake last, one pace, 4th of 16, 8l behind Lucky Lukey (10-2) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-100 (5) gf.
Marju King (IRE) 100-1 (11-0) Held up in rear, ridden after 4th, some headway approaching 2 out, never on terms, 5th of 8, 32l behind Elsafeer (11-6) at Kempton 2m Listed nov hdl (1) gd.