Coolbeg had Tempting Paradise back in third when winning this last year but has changed stables since and shown little this term. Last year's successful trainer, Tom George, is represented by Hoare Abbey this time and the seven-year-old has a chance on last month's second at Catterick as Sawpit Supreme carries a penalty for a recent narrow success at Market Rasen. Gandalfe is struggling to get his head in front and Papradon weakened quickly at Huntingdon last time while Persian Herald's second came in a weak maiden chase at Fakenham. Milgen Bay and Petit Ecuyer could go close but it might be worth giving another chance to RICHO. Though 5lb out of the handicap, Shaun Harris' novice travelled strongly for a long way at Lingfield earlier this month and also showed up well here on his chasing bow.
Milgen Bay 12-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders in 3rd, ridden over 3f out, weakened over 1f out, 7th of 11, 7l behind Representingceltic (10-4) at Lingfield 2m n h flat (4) std in Jan.
Hoare Abbey (IRE) 15-2 (11-7) Tracked winner throughout, no impression from 3 out, 2nd of 5, 22l behind Brave Spartacus (11-9) at Catterick 2m nov hcp chs 0-115 (4) sft in Jan.
Papradon 12-1 (11-12) Prominent, led 6th, headed 9th, not fluent and lost place 11th, well behind 3 out, soon pulled up, in a race won by Rouge Et Blanc (11-4) at Huntingdon 2m 4f hcp ch 0-110 (4) gs, 8 ran.
Coolbeg (IRE) 40-1 (11-2) Held up in rear, took keen hold, not fluent 2nd or 3rd, headway 7th, challenged next, not fluent and weakened 2 out, 5th of 7, 24l behind Drumshambo (11-12) at Hereford 2m hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Dec.
Gandalfe (FR) 7-4fav (11-0) Led, narrowly headed 7th, led again next, ridden and joined when hit 2 out, headed and carried left after last, kept on same pace, 2nd of 9, 4 1/2l behind Lough Coi (10-7) at Lingfield 2m mdn chs (5) hvy in Jan.
Tempting Paradise (IRE) 50-1 (10-10) Dropped to rear after 5th, tailed off and eased from before 4 out, last of 11, well behind Royale's Charter (11-12) at Taunton 2m hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Oct.
Sawpit Supreme 5-1 (10-11) Made all, not fluent 2 out, ridden before last, found extra when pressed run-in, kept on well, won at Market Rasen 2m 2f hcp chs 0-115 (4) sft beating William Money (11-12) by 1l, 5 ran.
Petit Ecuyer (FR) 11-1 (11-4) Mid-division and raced wide, chased leaders after 3 out, ridden and every chance before last, no extra run-in, 4th of 12, 3 1/2l behind Rocky Elsom (11-1) at Plumpton 2m hcp hdl 0-110 (4) sft in Jan.
Persian Herald 9-2 (10-10) Tracked leaders, took keen hold, lost place 7th, rallied 2 out, every chance last, no extra flat, 2nd of 4, 4 1/2l behind Groomed (10-7) at Fakenham 2m mdn chs (5) sft in Jan.
Richo 11-4 (10-2) Took keen hold, held up in rear, closer order 4th, went 2nd after 8th, led narrowly 2 out (normal 3 out), ridden and headed before last, slightly hampered last, stayed on same pace flat, just held on for 2nd, 2nd of 6, 4l behind Little Jimmy (10-2) at Lingfield 2m hcp chs 0-100 (5) hvy.