This is always a competitive affair and usually run at a good pace. Party Rock looks to have too much weight nowadays but Saphir Du Rheu has to be of interest despite having been raised 15lb since beating the re-opposing Home Run by eight lengths at Sandown last month. Several of his rivals also arrive in top form, however, with the lightly-raced Junction Fourteen on a hat-trick after winning by 11 lengths over course and distance on Boxing Day. Like Minded also arrives off the back of a victory over track and trip and Maller Tree, Foxcub, Spirit Of Shankly and If In Doubt will be doing their best to add to recent victories. RIVER MAIGUE won over 2m here last season and went on to run in the Supreme Novices'. This will be his first try over a longer trip but he should last home having won over 3m between the flags. There was a lot to like about his comeback third at Sandown and this may be within his capabilities.
Party Rock (IRE) 14-1 (11-10) Always in rear, 6th of 8, 49l behind Champagne West (10-2) at Wincanton 2m 6f hcp hdl (2) hvy in Dec.
Saphir Du Rheu (FR) 8-1 (11-0) Held up in mid-division, smooth headway after 3 out, tracking leaders on bit approaching next, led between last 2, in command last, kept on strongly to forge clear flat, won at Sandown 2m 6f hcp hdl (2) gs in Dec beating Home Run (10-6) by 8l, 16 ran.
River Maigue (IRE) 10-3fav (11-12) Held up in mid-division, headway to chase leaders approaching 2 out, driven along before last, stayed on under pressure flat to take 3rd post, 3rd of 13, 2 1/4l behind Deep Trouble (10-11) at Sandown 2m Listed hcp hdl (1) gs in Dec.
Maller Tree 12-1 (11-5) Always prominent, led 7th, drew clear after 3 out, ran on well, eased near finish, won at Fakenham 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft beating Brass Monkey (10-0) by 22l, 8 ran.
Foxcub (IRE) 4-1fav (11-11) Led until 1st, tracked leaders, not much room 3 out, led before next, driven and stayed on flat, won at Leicester 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gs in Dec beating Zalgarry (10-8) by 5l, 11 ran.
Junction Fourteen (IRE) 9-2 (11-3) In touch, headway 3 out, led before next, drew clear before last, unextended, impressive, won at Kempton 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft in Dec beating Georgian King (10-9) by 11l, 12 ran.
Spirit Of Shankly 7-2 (11-4) In touch, ridden to challenge 2 out, stayed on strongly to lead after last, all out, won at Haydock 2m 4f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (3) sft in Nov beating Urban Hymn (10-12) by 5l, 9 ran.
Like Minded 12-1 (11-1) Mid-division, headway going well before 3 out, challenged next, led flat, driven out, won at Aintree 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) sft in Dec beating Party Rock (11-5) by 3/4l, 11 ran.
Kaylif Aramis 12-1 (10-9) Mid-division, headway on inside to chase leaders approaching 3 out, pushed along in 5th 2 out, ridden between last 2, soon weakened, 6th of 20, 17l behind Willow's Saviour (10-5) at Ascot 2m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) sft in Dec.
If In Doubt (IRE) 3-1fav (11-8) Held up in rear, headway after 4 out, led after next, clear last, comfortably, won at Towcester 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gs in Nov beating Ray Diamond (10-3) by 5l, 11 ran.
Art Professor (IRE) 8-1 (10-13) Tracked leaders, under pressure after 4 out, soon rallied, ridden to challenge 2 out, ran on after last, no chance with winner, 2nd of 5, 2l behind Special Catch (10-12) at Haydock 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) sft in Dec.
Home Run (GER) 16-1 (10-6) Held up in rear, headway on inside travelling well and looking for room briefly before 2 out, headway soon after, chased leaders 2 out, went 2nd approaching last, no chance with easy winner, edged left flat, 2nd of 16, 8l behind Saphir Du Rheu (11-0) at Sandown 2m 6f hcp hdl (2) gs in Dec.
Gores Island (IRE) 2-1 (11-4) Held up, badly bumped 1st, headway 3 out, went 3rd before 2 out, hit last, not able to get on terms, no extra towards finish, 3rd of 8, 5l behind Seebright (11-12) at Fontwell 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gs in Nov.