This could be the sort of challenge that Pauillac warms to however we prefer the claims of CROSS KENNON who just keeps getting better and better. Jennie Candlish is having a good season so far and this progressive gelding is improving fast. To be fair he will need to in order to defy a 10lb rise for a recent Uttoxeter win but as that was his first run of the season there may still be plenty left in the tank. Saphire Night will be happier now dropped back in grade and he handles soft ground well, Cashel Blue had an aborted run over fences last time out but his previous course form over hurdles has been significantly franked, whilst Kilvergan Boy is another to revert to hurdles this afternoon. Herons Well landed a gamble at Ffos Las last time out, proving in the process that he handles this ground, so the market needs to be watched again, as it does for Laborec who has his first start for Neil King this afternoon. Outlaw Tom is an interesting contender; he ran well at Uttoxeter when last seen in May and is a progressive horse who should make up into a nice chaser. Evan Williams may improve King Of Castle, whilst Callerlilly seemed to improve for the soft ground last time out when winning at Exeter in a hard-fought finish. Nothing else makes that much appeal and so we are happy to return to Cross Kennon as the nomination.
Pauillac (FR) 9-1 (11-6) Held up towards rear, reminders after 6th, blundered, never going pace from 7th, struggling after, 14th of 15, well behind Nikos Extra (11-4) at Folkestone 2m 5f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gs in Nov.
Saphire Night 28-1 (9-9) With leaders, led 7th, headed from 3 out, soon weakened, pulled up before 2, in a race won by Diamond Harry (11-12) at Haydock 3m 1f listed hcp hdl (1) sft in Nov, 16 ran.
Money Order (IRE) 25-1 (11-7) Held up towards rear, headway into 4th going well when pecked 3 out, not fluent next, weakened before last, 4th of 9, 7l behind Herons Well (10-6) at Ffos Las 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft in Nov.
Two Miles West (IRE) 50-1 (11-2) Held up in rear, pushed along after 4th, struggling next, tailed off, 8th of 9, well behind My Friend Sandy (11-3) at Chepstow 3m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) hvy in Nov.
Cross Kennon (IRE) 5-1 (11-9) Held up in rear, headway 8th, led after next, jumped right 3 out, soon ridden, stayed on well flat (no time taken), won at Uttoxeter 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) hvy in Nov beating Silver Bay (11-11) by 2 1/2l, 9 ran.
Cashel Blue (USA) 20-1 (10-7) Tracked leaders, went 2nd approaching 11th to 12th, weakened 14th, tailed off, 6th of 8, well behind Inchidaly Rock (10-12) at Exeter 3m nov stks (3) sft in Nov.
Kilvergan Boy (IRE) 33-1 (10-9) Blundered badly 1st, towards rear when blundered and unseated rider 5th, in a race won by Hey Big Spender (11-12) at Newbury 2m 6f nov hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Nov, 14 ran.
Mister Quasimodo 5-1 (10-12) Held up towards rear, under pressure 4 out, never on terms, 7th of 9, 36l behind Factotum (11-4) at Ffos Las 3m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in Nov.
Herons Well (IRE) 4-1 (10-6) Led until hit 2nd, chased leader, led before 6th, made rest, stayed on strongly, driven out, won at Ffos Las 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft in Nov beating Another Trump (11-1) by 4l, 9 ran.
Laborec (IRE) 11-4 (10-4) Tracked leaders, led 5th, stayed on well from last, won at Wetherby 2m 6f cond clm hdl (4yo+) (5) sft in Nov beating Calfraz (10-12) by 6l, 9 ran.
Outlaw Tom (IRE) 5-1 (11-6) Close up, weakened approaching 3 out, 3rd of 15, 9l behind Dreamy Sweeney (11-6) at Uttoxeter 2m 6f nh nov hdl (4) gd in May.
King of Castile 5-1 (10-12) Soon in touch, driven 7th, weakened approaching 3 out, 6th of 12, 32l behind Sprosser (10-12) at Worcester 3m nh nov hdl (4) gs in Oct.
Paddy's Tern 4-1fav (10-13) Held up towards rear, headway approaching 6th, hanging left and lost place before 7th, no impression after, 11th of 15, well behind Magnifico (11-2) at Exeter 2m 7f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) hvy in Nov.
Callerlilly 33-1 (11-12) Led, hit 2nd, headed before 5th, stayed challenging, mistake 4 out, handy after, rallied gamely under pressure to lead soon after last, kept on well, won at Exeter 2m 5f nov hcp hdl 0-105 (4) sft in Nov beating Alldunnandusted (11-0) by 4l, 9 ran.
Silver Snitch (IRE) 25-1 (10-6) Held up towards rear, not fluent 6th, headway after 8th, weaened approaching 3 out, 6th of 12, 20l behind Saphire Night (11-7) at Uttoxeter 3m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gs in May.
Pearl (IRE) 3-1 (11-12) Held up, headway 9th, went 3rd 2 out, weakened flat, 3rd of 7, 13l behind Petroglyph (11-0) at Ludlow 3m cnd hcp hdl 0-95 (5) sft in Nov.
Midnight Ocean 5-1 (10-7) Held up, headway 9th, led 2 out, clear last, edged left flat, won at Worcester 3m hcp hdl 0-105 (4) gd in May '08 beating Colinette (10-3) by 12l, 12 ran.