IMPERIAL VIC continues to show good progress over fences. Placed in a more competitive chase than this at Carlisle last month, Michael Smith's charge can confirm earlier form with Scotswell and come out best. Soudain will go close if the ground turns soft after winning a lower grade chase at Huntingdon in good style, while confidence in Bishops Heir will be boosted if Talkin Sence runs well earlier on the card, as he finished runner-up to the latter here last month. More Equity is lurking at the bottom of the weights and though this is much tougher than the race she recently won at Musselburgh, she should give another good account.
Imperial Vic (IRE) 6-5fav (10-13) Led to 5th, led again 8th, headed 4 out, outpaced before 2 out, plugged on from last, 3rd of 5, 1l behind Vintage Star (11-3) at Carlisle 3m grad ch (2) hvy in Nov.
Bradley 5-1 (10-0) Mid-division, blundered 11th, headway on outside 16th, soon in touch, outpaced 3 out, ridden next, rallied approaching last, kept on and every chance flat, no extra when lost 2nd near finish, 3rd of 13, 4l behind Alvarado (10-0) at Cheltenham 3m 3f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gd in Nov.
Soudain (FR) 9-4fav (10-13) Never far away, bumped 3rd, led 17th, headed after 18th, led next, clear from 2 out, stayed on well, won at Huntingdon 3m 6f hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Nov beating Arkose (11-8) by 15l, 8 ran.
Scotswell 6-1 (9-12) Led or disputed lead until outpaced before 4 out, soon lost place, no chance with front pair from next, left moderate 3rd 2 out, 3rd of 5, 16l behind Green Flag (11-5) at Newcastle 3m (3) gd in Nov.
Ros Castle (IRE) 5-1 (11-11) Held up towards rear, headway 5 out, chased winner last, kept on and no impression, 2nd of 8, 4l behind Tutchec (10-12) at Carlisle 2m 4f hcp chs 0-120 (4) hvy in Nov.
Bishops Heir 13-2 (10-5) Held up in touch, went 3rd 3 out, went 2nd before last, kept on towards finish, 2nd of 6, 1 1/4l behind Talkin Sence (10-1) at Kelso 3m 3f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Nov.
Royal Sam (IRE) 14-1 (11-0) Held up in rear and in touch, mistake 4 out, went 3rd from 2 out until last, no extra, 4th of 5, 11l behind No Planning (11-9) at Wetherby 3m 1f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Nov.
Bescot Springs (IRE) 5-1 (10-11) Chased leaders, close 5th when hit 3 out, soon beaten, weakened next, 6th of 8, 15l behind Global Power (11-1) at Carlisle 3m 2f hcp chs 0-135 (3) hvy in Nov.
Royale Knight 10-1 (10-11) Held up, driven along 8th, never on terms, 9th of 17, 31l behind Ballyculla (11-8) at Exeter 2m 7f hcp hdl 0-120 (4) sft in Nov.
More Equity 5-1 (11-12) Tracked leaders in 4th, headway before 4 out, led 4 out, kept on, driven out, won at Musselburgh 3m hcp chs 0-110 (4) gd in Nov beating Dukeofchesterwood (10-4) by 1 1/4l, 6 ran.