It's intriguing that DOC ROW started as the 11/8 favourite on his recent return to action and as he ran well for a long way, we will side with him ahead of Royal Mackintosh and Andy Anshan. The selection had been off the track for over a year and a half prior to running in late August, where he was a respectable third to Shoudawoudacouda at Cartmel. He has been placed in two of his three starts over fences and can reward connections' patience with a win today. Top-weight Manbow is a course and distance winner but he has a bit to prove after being pulled up when last seen, so a bigger danger may be the hat-trick chasing Royal Mackintosh. Both of his wins have come at Carlisle so this will be a different test but this strong stayer is not one to take lightly. More Likely is a course and distance winner who has been seen over hurdles recently, Even Flo is out of form but is a player on his old form, whilst both of Polar Gale's wins have come over shorter at Sedgefield. Andy Anshan is interesting for Howard Johnson; this decent pointer has been running in Hunter Chases so far but steps up in trip here and he looks capable of improving on what we saw earlier in the year. A competitive contest, but Doc Row can lead them home.
Manbow (IRE) 12-1 (11-12) Behind, struggling 13th, tailed off when pulled up 3 out in race won by Russian Sky (10-0) at Perth 3m hcp chs 0-115 (4) gf in May, 10 ran.
Doc Row (IRE) 11-8fav (11-7) Raced keenly, made most to 2 out, soon ridden, kept on until weakened final furlong, 3rd of 5, 14l behind Shoudawoudacouda (11-0) at Cartmel 2m 5f beg chs (4) gs in Aug.
More Likely 20-1 (10-12) In touch, outpaced 2 out, 6th of 14, 14l behind Breaking Storm (11-5) at Sedgefield 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gf in Sept.
Getinbybutonlyjust 8-1 (10-12) In touch, pushed along 15th, soon weakened, 8th of 18, well behind Laertes (11-5) at Perth 3m 7f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gs in Apr.
Royal Mackintosh 4-1fav (11-10) Chased leaders, mistake 4 out, soon led, kept on well, won at Carlisle 3m nov hcp chs 0-110 (4) gs in Apr beating Stark Raven (10-9) by 9l, 10 ran.
Andy Anshan (IRE) 8-1 (11-10) Held up in rear, blundered 1st, ridden and no chance before 8th, 8th of 17, well behind Reflector (11-3) at Stratford 2m 1f hts chs (5) gd in May.
Stravaigin 7-2 (10-3) Led, ridden 3 out, headed next, kept on one pace, 4th of 8, 3 1/2l behind Loita Hills (11-12) at Perth 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) gf in Jun.
Even Flo 16-1 (10-13) Towards rear, ridden and headway after 9th, weakening when hung left approaching last, 9th of 12, 24l behind He's The Gaffer (11-5) at N Abbot 3m 3f hcp hdl 0-100 (4) gd in Aug.
Polar Gale (IRE) 12-1 (11-0) Held up mid-division, hit 3rd, weakened from 11th, 6th of 14, 30l behind Golden Feather (11-7) at Sedgefield 2m 4f hcp chs 0-105 (4) gf in Sept.
Ngong Hills (FR) 13-2 (11-4) Led, headed 7th, one pace from 2 out, 4th of 12, 23l behind I'm Your Man (10-11) at Sedgefield 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-95 (5) gd in Sept.
Cupid's Mission (IRE) 100-1 (10-5) In touch until outpaced 13th, 5th of 12, 46l behind Franc Villez (10-12) at Perth 3m nov chs (4) gd in Jul.