American Trilogy took a heavy fall on his chasing debut at Plumpton but can't be ruled out here if his confidence hasn't been affected. Patsy Finnegan will have needed the run behind Mr Gardner at Huntingdon and should do better in time but Ballinteni is probably best watched on his first start over the larger obstacles and Sergeant Pink has had his limitations exposed since being first past the post in a muddling race at Huntingdon in November. The vote, therefore, goes to ZAZAMIX who was backed to beat Mille Chief on his reappearance over hurdles at Sandown. Only third that day, he looked as though he'd appreciate this longer trip and is sure to have had plenty of schooling over fences.
American Trilogy (IRE) 4-1 (11-0) Held up in rear, headway 6f out, pushed along 5f out, soon ridden, stayed on same pace from over 1f out, no impression on leaders, 5th of 12, 6l behind Free World (11-0) at Kempton 2m Nat Hunt Flat (5yo+) (AWT) (4) std in Dec.
Ballinteni 14-1 (11-4) Chased leaders, went 2nd 4th until next and outpaced after, ridden and rallied from 2 out, went 2nd last, no chance with winner, 2nd of 14, 4l behind Pateese (11-4) at Ffos Las 2m mdn hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Patsy Finnegan 3-1 (10-12) Tracked winner, not fluent 5th, ridden after 3 out, soon beaten, 2nd of 4, 32l behind Mr Gardner (10-12) at Huntingdon 2m 4f nov chs (3) sft in Jan.
Zazamix (FR) 9-4fav (9-9) Held up in touch, pushed along 4th, outpaced 3 out, rallied approachiing 2 out, soon no impression, not fluent last, went 3rd towards finish, 3rd of 12, 12l behind Mille Chief (11-12) at Sandown 2m hcp hdl 0-145 (2) hvy in Jan.
Sergeant Pink (IRE) 8-1 (10-9) Held up in touch, slightly reluctant on bend approaching 1st, not fluent 7th, slightly reluctant again on same bend before 8th, soon outpaced, behind after 10th, left poor 3rd after last, tailed off, 3rd of 5, well behind Quo Video (11-0) at Market Rasen 2m 6f beg chase (4) gs in Jan.