ROWAN ROAD was racing from out of the handicap when following up her Kelso victory in a conditionals' race at Catterick six days ago. She doesn't have a penalty here and will probably start at short odds to complete her hat-trick with Adrian Lane back in the saddle. Recent form figures flatter both Lady Of Verona and Royal Curtsy while Bene Lad would have to recapture his best form to figure and that may not be easy at his age. Heart O' The West has been generally disappointing over hurdles and will do well to make the frame again here, even in modest company.
Bene Lad (IRE) 6-1 (10-13) Led or disputed lead to before 3 out, weakened next, 6th of 9, well behind Talkin Sence (10-12) at Kelso 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) hvy in Dec.
Lady Of Verona (IRE) 15-8 (10-2) With winner, ridden before 2 out, soon beaten, 2nd of 3, 14l behind Hannah Jacques (10-9) at Sedgefield 2m 4f cond mrs nov hdl (4yo+) (4) sft in Dec.
Royal Curtsy 66-1 (10-7) In rear in 3rd, jumped slow 3rd, outpaced before 2 out, last of 3, 32l behind Real Milan (11-0) at Carlisle 2m 5f beg chs (3) hvy in Dec.
Heart O' The West (IRE) 8-1 (9-12) Held up in rear, outpaced 6th, headway before last, kept on to take 3rd place run-in, no impression, 3rd of 7, 16l behind Rupert Bear (11-0) at Hexham 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) hvy in Nov.
Mia Matriarch 14-1 (10-9) Held up towards rear when stumbled and unseated rider 2nd, in a race won by Anna's Arch (11-8) at Kelso 2m 2f nov hcp hdl 0-100 (5) sft in Nov, 8 ran.
Commercial Express (IRE) 50-1 (10-10) Held up in rear, struggling before 7th, 8th of 9, 19l behind Benmadigan (10-10) at Musselburgh 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-95 (5) gd in Nov.
Rowan Road 6-1 (10-1) Mid-division in touch, joined leaders 3 out, challenged next, led narrowly last, ridden and kept on flat, won at Catterick 3m 1f hcp hdl 0-105 (4) hvy in Dec beating Gilzean (10-3) by 2 3/4l, 12 ran.
King Kalium (IRE) 7-1 (9-13) Held up mid-division, pushed along before 8th, weakened before 4 out, pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Delightfully (11-5) at Newcastle 3m hcp hdl 0-95 (5) gs in Nov, 18 ran.