Eastlake has enjoyed a successful season but was due to run here yesterday. Petit Robin wasn't disgraced back over fences at Cheltenham in a race in which His Excellency was a faller having finished third in the Arkle just three days earlier. He was also fourth in a Grade 1 at Aintree but has had a busy campaign. Pepite Rose was just touched off at Haydock last month but this looks on the sharp side for Venetia Williams' mare. Conquisto is rarely far away but SACRE TOI couldn't be in better form and has already proved himself over course and distance. Though a couple of pounds out of the handicap, we'll take James Ewart's seven-year-old to repel the southern raiders and complete the hat-trick.
Petit Robin (FR) 12-1 (11-5) Prominent, went 2nd 11th, driven and outpaced in 3rd after 2 out (usual 3 out), no impression in 5th flat, 5th of 23, 20l behind Alderwood (10-11) at Cheltenham 2m hcp chs G3 (1) sft in Mar.
His Excellency (IRE) 14-1 (11-4) Held up towards rear, ridden and headway before and mistake last, one pace, 4th of 7, 13l behind Captain Conan (11-4) at Aintree 2m 4f nov chs G1 (1) gd.
Pepite Rose (FR) 5-1fav (11-11) Held up towards rear, headway approaching 8th, 3 lengths off winner flat, stayed on to close on that idling rival towards finish, every chance close home, just held, 2nd of 12, shd behind Cedre Bleu (11-2) at Haydock 2m 4f hcp chs (2) gs in Mar.
Stagecoach Pearl 25-1 (11-4) Prominent, hit 4 out, soon ridden, lost place before next, well beaten when mistake and unseated rider last, in a race won by Oiseau de Nuit (11-8) at Aintree 2m hcp chs G3 (1) gd, 17 ran.
Conquisto 5-1 (11-8) Chased leaders, challenged in 3rd on outside 2 out, stayed on same pace flat, 3rd of 9, 2 3/4l behind Fairy Rath (10-1) at Ascot 2m 1f Novice Handicap Chase (0-145) (5yo+) (2) gd.
Eastlake (IRE) 4-1 (10-12) Led, not fluent 4 out, ridden and headed when rider dropped whip before 2 out, rallied to challenge on outside last, soon led, kept on flat, won at Newton Abbot 2m hcp chs 0-150 (2) sft in Mar beating Shangani (11-3) by 1l, 5 ran.
Oh Crick (FR) 33-1 (10-3) In touch, outpaced 2 out (usual 3 out), soon weakened, 10th of 23, 48l behind Alderwood (10-11) at Cheltenham 2m hcp chs G3 (1) sft in Mar.
Bocciani (GER) 33-1 (10-9) Held up in rear, headway approaching 7th, no impression 4 out, stayed on flat, not able to trouble leaders, 5th of 12, 4 1/2l behind Cedre Bleu (11-2) at Haydock 2m 4f hcp chs (2) gs in Mar.
Sacre Toi (FR) 5-4fav (11-2) With leader, led 4th, made rest, 6 lengths clear last, ridden out flat, won at Kelso 2m 1f hcp chs 0-115 (4) sft in Mar beating Endeavor (10-5) by 19l, 8 ran.