CICERON looks to have a good chance of opening his account over fences. Placed on his last five attempts, today's extra distance should bring about the necessary improvement and he has a bit in hand at the weights on Diocles. The latter, however, has shaped well in a couple of outings over the larger obstacles and makes more appeal than chasing debutants Cold Knight and Soutine. Valoroso should have got off the mark at Wincanton last month when clear of the field but made a hash of the last fence and was due to run at Leicester yesterday.
Celtic Intrigue (IRE) 4-1fav (10-7) Mid-division, headway after 5th, not fluent and weakened 2 out, 5th of 15, 12l behind Flaming Charmer (11-4) at Warwick 2m nov hcp hdl 0-110 (4) sft in Jan.
Ciceron (IRE) 3-1fav (11-3) Held up, headway when hit 4 out, went 3rd last, stayed on to close on 2nd flat, no impression on winner, 3rd of 9, 7l behind Prince Of Dreams (10-7) at Musselburgh 2m hcp chs 0-140 (3) gs.
Coeur de Fou (FR) 3-1 (11-12) Held up in touch behind leaders, closed 6th, ridden and disputing 3 lenghts down in 3rd when fell 3 out, in a race won by Souter Point (11-11) at Ludlow 2m nov hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gd in May '11, 7 ran.
Cold Knight 10-1 (11-0) Held up mid-division, ridden over 2f out, soon weakened, 11th of 13, 12l behind City Press (11-0) at Lingfield 2m n h flat (4) std in Jan.
Diocles (IRE) 15-8fav (11-0) Mistakes, chased leaders, not fluent and dropped to 4th at 3rd, slow 9th and next, blundered 13th, soon ridden, 3rd and one pace from 2 out, kept pressing for 2nd flat, 3rd of 5, 7l behind Nuts N Bolts (11-0) at Ayr 2m 4f beg chase (4) sft in Jan.
Sandy's Double 7-1 (10-12) Took keen hold, held up towards rear, ridden and struggling in modest 6th 2 out, 6th of 11, 22l behind Well Regarded (10-12) at Fontwell 2m 2f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Oct '11.
Soutine (IRE) 5-1 (10-6) Mid-division, badly hampered and lost place 8th, headway next, ridden and edged left after 2 out, stayed on same pace last, 3rd of 17, 8l behind Seymour Eric (11-9) at Huntingdon 3m 2f hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gs.
Stagecoach Jasper 12-1 (10-12) Mid-division, ridden after 4 out, soon weakened, 9th of 14, 49l behind Billy Twyford (11-7) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) sft.
Valoroso 20-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders on outside, went 2nd 4th until after 7th, challenged 3 out, led next, clear when slithered on landing and fell last, unlucky, in a race won by Milans Well (10-11) at Wincanton 2m 5f nov chs (4) hvy in Jan, 4 ran.
Highland Rain 13-2 (11-6) Held up towards rear, ridden before 4 out, weakened before 3 out, tailed off, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Copt Hill (10-3) at Sedgefield 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-100 (5) hvy in Jan, 9 ran.