WOLF SHIELD is awarded the vote after sticking on doughtily behind a couple of decent sorts on his novice chase debut here this month. A winner on testing ground, he should derive immense benefit from that run and is preferred to Big Sound. The latter receives a deal of weight from his three rivals, a major aid to his chances. His one win came over hurdles at this track and he performed creditably here last time too when the only one to make a race of it with The Shrimp. Leader Of The Gang has to be respected after making the long haul from Somerset for a top yard and is a fascinating contender on this chasing debut. Purcell's Bridge was off the mark this month over fences at Carlisle on soft ground but the overall level of his form is modest and he''ll need to improve again in order to contend.
Wolf Shield (IRE) 22-1 (10-12) Tracked leader, led 10th, headed 4 out, led 3 out, headed and mistake 2 out, ridden before last, no extra last 100 yards, 3rd of 5, 3 1/2l behind Knockanrawley (10-12) at Hexham 2m 7f nov chs (4) sft.
Leader Of The Gang 15-2 (11-9) Held up towards rear, headway approaching 2 out, stayed on to 2nd at the last, kept on same pace flat, no chance with easy winner, 2nd of 15, 6l behind Taradrewe (10-10) at Fontwell 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gd in Apr.
Purcell's Bridge (FR) 6-1 (11-2) Held up towards rear, headway 5 out to chase leaders, challenged 3 out, led 2 out, driven out, won at Carlisle 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-115 (4) sft beating Allow Me (11-6) by 3/4l, 11 ran.
Big Sound 7-2 (11-10) Held up towards rear, headway before 11th, went 2nd before 12th, blundered 3 out, ridden before last, weakened towards finish, 2nd of 8, 6l behind The Shrimp (10-0) at Hexham 2m 7f nov hcp chs 0-100 (5) hvy.