The well-bred OUR CHIEF tried to make all on his debut at Wincanton but couldn't quicken in the closing stages. He can put that experience to good use here to get the better of Tinahely point-to-point winner Blaklion and Bennachie, who probably needed his run at Kempton last month. Hughesie went close at Ludlow in December but hasn't raced since while Con Forza would need to improve on his two runs so far to figure. Ballybough Andy and Shanaderry Kin are other recruits from the point-to-point circuit who might be better for the race.
Bennachie (IRE) 8-1 (11-2) Held up in mi-division, pushed along over 2f out, stayed on to well held 3rd over 1f out, no chance with leading duo, 3rd of 14, 11l behind Five In A Row (11-2) at Kempton 2m n h flat (4) std in Feb.
Ballybough Andy (IRE) 6-4 (12-2) Chsd ldrs in 3rd, disp frm 4out, ld 3out until hdd bef 2out, ld again bef last but rddn, no ex flat, hdd nr fin, 2nd of 11, hd behind Trust No One (12-2) at Templenacarriga 3m ire ptp hvy in Jan.
Blaklion 2-1 (12-2) Mid div,prog to chse ldrs after 4out, 2l 3rd 3out, further prog to jn ldrs appr 2out, ld sn after 2out, qckly went 5l clr, green appr last, easily, won at Tinahely 3m ire ptp sft in Jan beating Fact Flow (12-2) by 11l, 9 ran.
Con Forza (IRE) 7-2 (11-4) Chased leaders, outpaced over 2f out, kept on to take 3rd run-in, no impression, 3rd of 6, 13l behind Royal Supreme (10-7) at Sedgefield 2m 1f NH flat (6) hvy in Jan.
Hughesie (IRE) 9-2 (10-9) Tracked leading pair, went 2nd halfway, outpaced over 3f out, ridden and rallied over 1f out, every chance when not much room and switched right inside final furlong, kept on, held towards finish, 2nd of 6, 1l behind Blue Heron (11-2) at Ludlow 1m 6f nhf (4) gs in Dec.
Our Chief (IRE) 6-4fav (11-4) Led and set steady pace, ridden and pressed over 2f out, headed over 1f out, one pace into 3rd final furlong, weakened into 4th close home, 4th of 7, 4l behind Earthmoves (10-10) at Wincanton 2m mdn NH flat (6) sft.
Shanaderry Kin (IRE) 10-1 (11-9) Alw pr & ld, lft ld 3out, hdd last, ko onepce, 2nd of 16, 3l behind Tell Us More (11-9) at Tattersalls Farm 3m ire ptp sft in Dec.