David Pipe has four entered in this opener. Unique De Cotte won over hurdles in the French provinces last May while Top Gamble won a bumper here on Boxing Day. Edmund Kean has won between the flags but, like Otterburn, has a lengthy absence to overcome. Mister W K is another bumper winner on this course but the one to beat is probably SIDNEY MELBOURNE, beaten just over a length on his reappearance at Taunton following a lay-off. A winner on the Flat in his younger days, he should strip fitter today.
Unique De Cotte (FR) (10-5) won at Le Lion D'angers(FR) 2m 2f hdl sft in May beating Uxina (10-5) by 4l, 15 ran.
Dreamsoftheatre (IRE) 20-1 (10-13) With leader, lost place after 5th, last of 7, well behind Shutthefrontdoor (11-11) at Wincanton 2m nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Edmund Kean (IRE) 5-1 (12-0) Alw pr, cl 2nd 2out, chall & ev ch & lft clr last, wandered run in, won at Maralin 3m ire ptp sft in Mar beating Elm Hall (12-0) by 4l, 16 ran.
Exemplary 4-1 (9-13) Tracked leading pair, went 2nd over 5f out, led 3f out, ridden and kicked on over 2f out, clear when driven over 1f out, eased close home, won at Kempton 2m hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Feb '12 beating Dark Ranger (9-3) by 1l, 9 ran (flat).
I'm A College Boy (IRE) 40-1 (11-5) Mid-division, weakened approaching 3 out, 7th of 12, 33l behind Pine Creek (11-5) at Leicester 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Light Well (IRE) 5-4fav (9-3) In rear, pushed along halfway, ridden 2f out, kept on one pace, 4th of 7, 14l behind Vasily (9-3) at Brighton 1m 4f mdn stks (5) gf in Oct '11 (flat).
Mister W K (IRE) 5-4fav (11-0) Chased leaders, led over 3f out, clear over 1f out, eased heavily last 100 yards, won at Ffos Las 2m mdn NH flat (6) sft in Oct beating Stony Road (10-7) by 9l, 8 ran.
Mr Bingley 20-1 (11-5) Took keen hold, chased leaders, went 3rd at 5th, not fluent next, weakened before 3 out, 5th of 12, 27l behind Valdez (11-11) at Plumpton 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Otterburn (IRE) 5-4fav (10-9) Chased leaders, chased winner over 4f out, ridden over 1f out and always held, lost 2nd towards finish, 3rd of 10, 4 1/2l behind Dark Glacier (11-9) at Ayr 2m NH flat (6) sft in Feb '11.
Perfect Timing 8-1 (11-1) Chased leaders, 3rd halfway, ridden and weakened before 4 out, completely tailed off, 7th of 8, well behind Kostar (11-0) at Sligo 2m 4f cond mdn hdl sft in Aug.
Sidney Melbourne (USA) 7-1 (10-9) Mid-division, steady headway 3 out, challenged next, led after last, soon ridden, kept on until headed and no extra final 75 yards, 2nd of 14, 1 1/4l behind Kilmurvy (10-12) at Taunton 2m 3f nh nov hdl (4) hvy in Dec.
Top Gamble (IRE) 1-5fav (10-6) Took keen hold, in touch, took closer order over 4f out, led over 3f out, soon well clear, unextended, impressive, won at Ffos Las 2m mdn NH flat (6) hvy in Dec beating Cash For Steel (10-9) by 25l, 5 ran.
Milaneen 15-2 (10-12) Tracked leaders, headway to lead 5f out, ridden and headed inside final 2f, kept on same pace, no extra when lost 3rd inside final furlong, 4th of 11, 8l behind Western Approaches (10-5) at Bangor 2m 1f mares n h flat (5) gd in May '11.