Caroline Bailey's Early Wings deserves to get his head in front having run some decent races in defeat of late but the gelding has yet to confirm that he is able to handle ground as testing as this and a better bet looks to be another consistent performer, BRIMHAM BOY, who gets the vote ahead of Ray Mond. Sean Curran's gelding won with plenty in hand at Southwell last month and has not been too harshly punished for that success having been raised 8lbs for that win but only five of the 10 runners actually finished in that race and the form may not be as good as it looks at first glance. Mr Floppy also won last time, taking a handicap at Folkestone by seven lengths, but a 9lb rise for that win makes following up difficult for Alison Batchelor's gelding. Tony Carroll has his string in good form so his runner, Chicago Alley, has to be considered but the dual point-to-point winner has yet to open his account under rules and may struggle to do so here. Tim Pitt's The Fabricator remains a maiden and a better bet looks to be Brimham Boy, who can gain a deserved success. Martin Keighley's gelding has also yet to win a race but he has been running well in recent starts, including under similarly testing ground and he looks worth siding with racing off just a 1lb higher mark than when second on testing ground at Uttoxeter two starts ago in November.
Early Wings (GER) 22-1 (10-11) Chased leaders, challenged 3 out, no impression flat, 2nd of 13, 8l behind Plum Pudding (11-10) at Leicester 2m 7f hcp chs 0-100 (4) gs in Jan.
Brimham Boy 3-1fav (11-3) Chased leader until blundered 10th, stayed well there under pressure until weakened on long run to 2 out, beaten when jumped left last 2, 4th of 12, 17l behind Ere Alfie (10-10) at Taunton 2m 3f nov hcp chs 0-95 (5) sft in Dec.
Feeling Peckish (USA) 14-1 (10-7) Tracked leaders, ridden 5 out, outpaced 2 out, rallied last, stayed on, just failed to snatch 2nd, 3rd of 6, 2l behind Commanche Dream (10-7) at Fakenham 3m beg chase (4) sft in Feb.
Mr Floppy (IRE) 15-8fav (10-3) Held up in rear, headway approaching 4 out, led 2 out, soon clear, ran on well, won at Folkestone 2m 5f hcp chs 0-95 (5) sft in Jan beating Wadswick Ben (10-9) by 7l, 6 ran.
Chicago Alley 25-1 (10-12) Tracked leaders, left 2nd from 7th, with winner and mistake 8th, beaten from 3 out, 2nd of 5, 35l behind Over Sixty (11-4) at Market Rasen 2m 6f mrs nov chs (5yo+) (3) sft in Feb.
Ray Mond 4-1 (10-4) Made all, clear 4 out, mistake 2 out, unchallenged, won at Southwell 2m 4f hcp ch 0-95 (5) sft in Feb beating Noble Bily (11-12) by 21l, 10 ran.
The Fabricator (FR) 7-1 (10-9) Held up, blundered 6th, headway and in touch 9th, ridden and outpaced 3 out, no chance with leading pair, 3rd of 12, 28l behind Toy Gun (11-8) at Newcastle 2m 4f hcp chs 0-90 (5) sft in Jan.
Just Playfull 5-1fav (9-9) Chased clear leader, hard driven and effort after 3 out, soon one pace, 6th of 14, 24l behind Quel Bruere (11-12) at Hereford 2m 5f hcp chs 0-95 (5) gs in Feb.
Ukrainian Star (IRE) 16-1 (9-9) Mid-division, blundered badly 10th and nearly fell, rallied 3 out, weakened 2 out, 4th of 13, 19l behind Plum Pudding (11-10) at Leicester 2m 7f hcp chs 0-100 (4) gs in Jan.
Young Yozza 100-1 (10-13) Held up, weakened after 10th, tailed off when pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Our Hero (11-2) at Uttoxeter 2m 6f beg chs (4) hvy in Nov, 7 ran.
Grey Dasler (IRE) 50-1 (10-7) Chased winner to 3rd, reminder after 7th, pecked 10th, weakened after next, pulled up before 4 out, in a race won by The Polomoche (11-4) at Leicester 2m 4f nov stks (3) gs in Jan, 3 ran.