Stagecoach Pearl was beaten only a length in similar company at Wetherby last time though the form hasn't worked out, while Quicuyo drops back in trip after a fourth at Musselburgh and is closely matched with Kings Grey on earlier running over 2m3f at this track. The latter has since gone close again when finding today's rival Shadrack only a neck too good at Catterick, but in an open handicap another chance is given to ANQUETTA. He ran out a cosy winner at Ascot before getting no further than the first back at the same track in November and is taken to resume winning ways here if suffering no ill effects from his tumble.
Stagecoach Pearl 4-1 (11-9) Tracked leaders, headway to lead after 8th, headed approaching 4 out, driven 2 out, ridden flat, stayed on well towards finish, 3rd of 7, 1l behind Charingworth (9-7) at Wetherby 2m hcp chs 0-150 (2) sft in Dec.
Dan Breen (IRE) 7-2 (11-12) Chased leading pair until 7th, mistake next, weakened 9th, soon behind, 8th of 11, well behind I'msingingtheblues (11-9) at Ascot 2m 1f hcp chs (2) gd in Nov.
Anquetta (IRE) 3-1fav (11-2) Took keen hold, tracking leaders when not much room unsighted and fell 1st, in a race won by I'msingingtheblues (11-9) at Ascot 2m 1f hcp chs (2) gd in Nov, 11 ran.
Lancetto (FR) 5-1 (11-12) Mid-division, headway 4 out, chased leaders next, weakening when blundered and unseated rider last, in a race won by King Edmund (11-7) at Ascot 2m 1f hcp chs 0-140 (3) sft in Dec, 10 ran.
Quicuyo (GER) 7-1 (11-9) Tracked winner, outpaced before 4 out, soon no impression, stayed on same pace under pressure, lost place final 100 yards, 4th of 11, 11l behind Fiendish Flame (11-12) at Musselburgh 2m 4f hcp chs 0-140 (3) gd.
De Boitron (FR) 33-1 (11-1) Always towards rear, went left 9th, struggling next, tailed off, 7th of 11, well behind I'msingingtheblues (11-9) at Ascot 2m 1f hcp chs (2) gd in Nov.
Rileyev (FR) 5-1 (10-9) Held up in last trio, slow 3rd, headway to 4th from 4 out, went 3rd approaching next, staying on same pace when blundered badly 2 out, weakened soon after, 5th of 9, 19l behind Hold Fast (11-0) at Sandown 2m hcp chs (2) gs.
Kings Grey (IRE) 2-1fav (10-13) Chased leaders, effort after 3 out, led last, headed towards finish, 2nd of 6, nk behind Shadrack (10-9) at Catterick 2m Novice Handicap Chase (0-135) (4yo+) (3) sft in Dec.
Tara Royal 14-1 (11-10) Held up, headway 8th, went 3rd when not fluent 2 out, stayed on same pace last, 3rd of 8, 7l behind Marodima (10-13) at Warwick 2m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs.
Shadrack (IRE) 6-1 (10-9) Led 2nd to 4th, led 3 out, headed last, hard ridden to lead again towards finish, won at Catterick 2m Novice Handicap Chase (0-135) (4yo+) (3) sft in Dec beating Kings Grey (10-13) by nk, 6 ran.