The strong pace that is associated with this race should be assured with a large field going to post and that will certainly aid ZAYNAR. The other fancied runners, Walkon, Master Of Arts and Ebadiyan all have solid claims and are respected. Those to the fore of the market have held sway of late and it's reasonable to expect them to dominate the finish in what appears to be a decent renewal. Not everyone was impressed by Zaynar's workmanlike victory at Ascot and connections have taken the decision to fit him with cheekpieces but it was far from a bad performance as he did extend his advantage by a significant margin. The form of the race stacks up as does his debut defeat of Walkon and the way that this race is likely to be run will suit him far better than the small field at Ascot. Walkon was conceding weight to Nicky Henderson's runner at Newbury and was beaten by four lengths but he has improved since and his trainer has sent out two winners and two placed horses in the last four runnings of this race. Walkon has a rock solid profile and seems certain to be in the shake-up and to confirm early season form with Reve De Sivola who did get closer to him last time. Master Of Arts made as impressive a debut as you could wish to see at Doncaster and the form is good with the runner-up finishing fourth in Tuesday's opener. Marks against him are concerns regarding his lack of experience and whether he has the stamina for this test which his pedigree far from guarantees. Starluck is unbeaten and has done his winning on flat tracks but there's no reason to believe that he won't be as effective here and he's a very nice prospect having shown decent form on the level. He hails from a smaller yard but shouldn't be underestimated and rates a player. The Irish challenge is led by Ebadiyan who is bred along similar lines to Zaynar and was on the verge of Listed class for John Oxx. He may not have had the race run to suit when beaten by Jumbo Rio last time and had readily accounted for that one earlier in the season; he also has the beating of the unbeaten Lethal Weapon on a line through Tharawaat although lightly raced individuals are open to improvement. The drier conditions should be to his liking, he has plenty of experience and is another with a live chance. They are the principal contenders in a strong race which should bring out the best in Zaynar.
Art Sleuth (USA) 4-5fav (11-7) Always prominent, travelling well in 2nd from 2 out, on terms before last, in front and pushed out run-in, comfortably, won at Gowran Park 2m mdn hdl hvy in Feb beating Timari (11-2) by 3l, 11 ran.
Ebadiyan (IRE) 13-8fav (11-0) Led, ridden and challenged 2 out, headed entering straight, under pressure in 3rd before last, stayed on run-in to go 2nd, not reach winner, 2nd of 8, 3/4l behind Jumbo Rio (11-0) at Leopardstown 2m 4yo hdl Grd 2 sft in Feb.
Jumbo Rio (IRE) 11-4 (11-0) Chased leaders, 3rd halfway, headway to challenge 2 out, narrow lead approaching last, ridden and kept on well run-in, won at Leopardstown 2m 4yo hdl Grd 2 sft in Feb beating Ebadiyan (11-0) by 3/4l, 8 ran.
Just Rob 25-1 (11-0) Always in the rear, 8th of 10, 38l behind Walkon (11-0) at Chepstow 2m nov hdl Grd 1 (1) sft in Dec.
Lethal Weapon (IRE) 7-4 (11-0) Tracked leaders, 2nd travelling well from before straight, challenged under pressure and led run-in, stayed on well, won at Leopardstown 2m 3yo hdl Grd 1 sft in Dec beating Tharawaat (11-0) by 1l, 11 ran.
Maidstone Mixture (FR) 14-1 (11-3) Tracked leaders, pushed along 4th, outpaced, took remote 4th after last, 4th of 7, 42l behind Aachen (11-8) at Market Rasen 2m 1f nov hdl (3) sft in Feb.
Master of Arts (USA) 11-2 (10-7) Chased leaders, led last, pushed out, won at Doncaster 2m nov hdl (4) gs in Jan beating Copper Bleu (11-10) by 3 1/2l, 8 ran.
Mourad (IRE) 9-4 (11-0) Chased leader in 2nd, improved to challenge 2 out, led entering straight, ridden and narrowly headed approaching last, no extra run-in, 3rd of 8, 1 1/2l behind Jumbo Rio (11-0) at Leopardstown 2m 4yo hdl Grd 2 sft in Feb.
Reve De Sivola (FR) 11-4 (11-0) Tracked leaders, went 2nd after 2 out, ridden when not fluent last, kept on, not pace to challenge, edged right near finish, 2nd of 7, 1 1/2l behind Walkon (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m 1f nov hdl Grd 2 (1) hvy in Jan.
Silk Drum (IRE) 11-10fav (11-8) Tracked leader, led approaching 3 out, drew well clear approaching last, comfortably, won at Doncaster 2m 4yo nov hdl (3) sft in Jan beating Motarid (10-12) by 15l, 10 ran.
Simarian (IRE) 6-1 (11-7) Chased leader, hit 2nd, ridden after 3 out, weakened after next, regained modest 3rd near finish, 3rd of 7, 26l behind Walkon (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m 1f nov hdl Grd 2 (1) hvy in Jan.
Starluck (IRE) 4-5fav (11-8) Raced wide, tracked leaders, went 2nd after 3 out, led well before 2 out, clear soon after, very easily, won at Kempton 2m 3yo nov hdl (3) gd in Dec beating True Blue Saga (10-12) by 11l, 10 ran.
Stow 9-4fav (11-3) Made all, ridden approaching last, kept on well under pressure, won at Haydock 2m 4yo nov hdl (2) sft in Feb beating Indian Groom (11-6) by 1l, 6 ran.
Tharawaat (IRE) 7-4fav (11-3) Led after 1st, strongly pressed from before 4 out, narrowly headed 2 out, ridden entering straight, no extra in 2nd before last, kept on same pace, 2nd of 6, 8l behind Ebadiyan (10-10) at Punchestown 2m 4yo hdl Grd 3 sft in Jan.
Trenchant 14-1 (10-11) In touch, not fluent 3 out, headway and driven approaching 2 out, chased leaders last, driven and stayed on under pressure to lead towards finish, won at Kempton 2m nov hdl Grd 2 (1) gs in Feb beating Ainama (11-6) by 1 1/2l, 8 ran.
Tyrrells Wood (IRE) 7-2 (10-12) Chased leader, led 2nd, pushed clear 2 out, comfortably, won at Fontwell 2m 2f 3yo mdn hdl (4) gf in Sept beating Maxwil (10-12) by 20l, 14 ran.
Walkon (FR) 6-5fav (11-7) Held up, took closer order 4th, led approaching last, soon ridden, kept on, driven out, won at Cheltenham 2m 1f nov hdl Grd 2 (1) hvy in Jan beating Reve de Sivola (11-0) by 1 1/2l, 7 ran.
Zaynar (FR) 1-5fav (11-4) In touch, mistake 1st, jumped left 3rd, took closer order 4th, led 2 out, clear approaching last, won at Ascot 2m 4yo nov hdl (3) gs in Jan beating Amore Mio (10-9) by 8l, 9 ran.