In a open looking pretty decent handicap over a mile DEN'S GIFT can end a run of near misses and is taken to do so at the expense of last time out winner Snow Bay while Stand Guard could be value for the places. Second on his last three starts the selection boosts some of the best course form on display. Twice in that last trio of starts he's missed out by less than a length and off the same mark he carried to his latest silver medal performance he should be running a big race again. Snow Bay comes here on form after a narrow victory at Southwell. All of his best efforts have come at that venue, though, so with extra weight to carry coming into this he is just overlooked. Stand Guard won in a better race than this at Wolverhampton in November and with a decent strike rate at this track he should be competitive off a workable rating. Quick Release should go well off bottom weight after a string of near misses but he saves his best for the slower artificial surfaces while Carcenetto in his 99th race might have to settle for minor prizes. A really good race this where Dens Gift is the pick.
Carcinetto (IRE) 17-2 (8-11) Tracked leader, under pressure when short of room over 2f out, soon weakened, 6th of 7, 7l behind Autumn Blades (8-5) at Lingfield 1m hcp 0-100 (2) pol.
Mesa Marauder (8-11) 4th of 7, 12l behind Skins Game (9-4) at Toulouse(FR) 1m grd stk gs in Nov.
Councellor (FR) 25-1 (9-4) Chased leaders on outer, pushed along over 2f out, one pace from over 1f out, 5th of 13, 3 1/2l behind Audemar (8-13) at Kempton 1m hcp (0-90) (3) pol.
Stand Guard 14-1 (8-12) Held up, ridden and one pace inside final furlong, 9th of 11, 4l behind Winter Fever (9-1) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp (0-90) (3) pol.
L'Hirondelle (IRE) 11-1 (8-13) Took keen hold, wide in mid-division, ridden and weakened over 2f out, 12th of 13, 15l behind Audemar (8-13) at Kempton 1m hcp (0-90) (3) pol.
Den's Gift (IRE) 4-1 (8-12) Led, pushed along over 2f out, kept on gamely under pressure inside final furlong, headed final strides, 2nd of 13, hd behind Audemar (8-13) at Kempton 1m hcp (0-90) (3) pol.
Vainglory (USA) 7-1 (8-3) Held up in touch, hard ridden to challenge over 1f out, never on terms, 6th of 11, 3 1/2l behind Bridge Of Gold (9-6) at Lingfield 1m 2f hcp 0-100 (2) pol.
Snow Bay 5-1 (9-3) Always prominent, led over 4f out, remained hard pressed, ridden over 2f out, driven out, won at Southwell 7f hcp 0-85 (4) fbs beating Bel Cantor (8-12) by shd, 8 ran.
Quick Release (IRE) 5-1 (8-2) Prominent, ridden to lead over 1f out, headed inside final furlong, no extra, 2nd of 11, 3/4l behind Winter Fever (9-1) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp (0-90) (3) pol.