SILENT WIND is a fascinating runner in this race and is put forward ahead of the unexposed Qulinton and progressive Midnight Chase. Irish Legend drops in class and handles these sorts of conditions well enough so he has to enter calculations but the handicapper may have his measure for now. Jamie Moore has been aboard for both of Cave Of The Giant's wins but he looks up against it in this company from a 10lb higher mark than when last successful. Maraafeq is from a yard in form but doesn't shape as one that you'd want alongside you in the trenches and failed to justify strong support at Wincanton despite travelling well for much of the race. Midnight Chase is 7lbs higher following his win at Fontwell but the form of each of his three wins this term has been franked by the runner-up in each race and there's every reason to believe that he can achieve further success. Qulinton went down by a head to Ouzbeck on his second start over hurdles for current connections (form which looks better now) and was pitched into a hot race at Cheltenham on his reappearance. He was a big price and well beaten but remains an interesting prospect in a lesser race with the yard going well. Silent Wind ran a promising race over two miles on debut for Gary Moore, shaping as though this longer trip would suit. He was seventh in the German Derby in 2005 and went on to win two races over hurdles in Ireland over two miles. Most of his form in Ireland was on better ground at around the minimum but there's every reason to believe he'll cope with deeper conditions and is just the sort his yard places to advantage. The market is likely to be revealing but Silent Wind makes some appeal on paper.
Irish Legend (IRE) 18-1 (9-11) Tracked leaders, ridden and weakened 3 out, 9th of 18, 25l behind Lough Derg (11-10) at Ascot 2m 3f hcp hdl Grd 2 (1) gs in Jan.
Qulinton (FR) 20-1 (11-4) Chased leader, led 6th, ridden and headed approaching 3 out, soon weakened, tailed off, 15th of 19, well behind Punchestowns (11-12) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-140 (3) sft in Nov.
Midnight Chase 11-8fav (11-7) Tracked leader, hit 6th, chased leader 4 out, led approaching next, soon clear, won at Fakenham 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gd in Jan beating Serhaaphim (11-5) by 5l, 6 ran.
Cave of The Giant (IRE) 18-1 (11-0) Held up, ridden after 12th, weakened 3 out, 5th of 6, 21l behind Sound Accord (11-0) at Fontwell 2m 6f beg chs (4) gs in Dec.
Maraafeq (USA) 7-2fav (10-12) Prominent, led after 3 out, ridden approaching 2 out, headed 2 out, weakened last, 7th of 11, 12l behind White On Black (10-1) at Wincanton 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gs in Jan.
Silent Wind (GER) 14-1 (11-3) Held up in rear, headway 3 out, soon ridden, stayed on same pace last, 5th of 13, 7l behind Princess Flame (10-10) at Leicester 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft in Dec.
Baren De Doc (IRE) 6-1 (11-6) Held up and keen, headway 6th, weakened 2 out, 9th of 13, 20l behind Radmores Revenge (11-3) at Chepstow 3m mdn hdl (5) hvy in Jan.