Arch Villain and Theology are closely matched on recent running having taking it in turns to beat each other of late. The latter came out best over track and trip last time but is worse off at the weights on today's terms. Mr Burbidge is facing his toughest task to date having rattled up five consecutive wins on the all-weather while Grendisar has the form to get involved if proving suited to this longer trip. Exemplary returns to the level having scored over hurdles at Wincanton, though both Communicator and TED SPREAD are rated much higher than him over timber. The former should be thereabouts, but the latter won the Chester Vase during his time on the Flat and if still capable of running anywhere near that level, he could go very close today.
Arch Villain (IRE) 2-1fav (10-0) Raced wide in touch, tracked leaders after 3f, ridden over 2f out, kept on same pace final furlong, 4th of 7, 2 1/2l behind Theology (9-9) at Lingfield 2m hcp (2) pol in Dec.
Communicator 16-1 (8-11) In rear, ridden and headway over 2f out, kept on same pace, 5th of 23, 12l behind Conduct (9-2) at Doncaster 1m 4f hcp (2) sft in Nov.
Exemplary 4-1 (9-13) Tracked leading pair, went 2nd over 5f out, led 3f out, ridden and kicked on over 2f out, clear when driven over 1f out, eased close home, won at Kempton 2m hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Feb '12 beating Dark Ranger (9-3) by 1l, 9 ran.
Mr Burbidge Evensfav (10-2) Tracked leader, challenged when carried towards stands side rail over 2f out, soon ridden, led narrowly over 1f out, edged left inside final furlong, stayed on towards finish, won at Southwell 1m 4f hcp 0-75 (5) fbs beating Summerfree (8-11) by 1 1/4l, 4 ran.
Ted Spread 14-1 (9-0) Held up in touch, outpaced 3f out, ridden over 2f out, never able to challenge, 6th of 7, 11l behind Quest For Peace (8-7) at Ascot 1m 4f Grp 3 (1) gd in Oct '11.
Theology 8-1 (9-9) Tracked leader, led halfway, ridden 2f out, found extra when pressed inside final furlong, won at Lingfield 2m hcp (2) pol in Dec beating Be Perfect (9-5) by 1l, 7 ran.
Two Days In Paris (FR) (8-13) 16th of 18, well behind Modern Eagle (8-7) at Saint-cloud(FR) 1m 4f Listed stks hvy in Nov.
Grendisar (IRE) 10-1 (8-0) Behind, smooth headway over 1f out, driven and stayed on well inside final furlong, never reached leaders, 4th of 14, 1 1/2l behind Castilo Del Diablo (8-9) at Lingfield 1m 4f hcap (2) pol.
Returntobrecongill 9-4fav (8-12) Soon led, driven and headed narrowly over 2f out, soon ridden, kept on and every chance until no extra in 3rd final 100 yards, 3rd of 7, 1 3/4l behind Masterful Act (9-9) at Southwell 1m 3f hcp (0-90) (3) fbs.
Duchess Of Gazeley (IRE) 8-1 (9-1) Close up, headway to chase winner 3f out, no impression final 2f, 2nd of 12, 7l behind Tweed (8-4) at Newmarket 1m 4f flls hcp 0-130 (3) sft in Nov.