It was fast ground when Traditional Bob broke his duck over hurdles at Stratford last month and he has to prove that was no fluke off an higher 8lb mark today given he'd never looked like winning before then. It was also good going when Balding Banker scored at Uttoxeter last time and Marshal Zhukov's recent victory at Fontwell looks stronger form. However, TROP FORT has been threatening to get his head in front of late and, after a recent second at Exeter, it could the turn of David Pipe's charge today.
Traditional Bob (IRE) 12-1 (10-12) Held up towards rear, outpaced from 5th, headway after 3 out, chased leader before last, kept on to lead towards finish, won at Stratford 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gd in Mar beating Red Skipper (10-3) by 2l, 11 ran.
Balding Banker (IRE) 11-4 (11-2) Tracked leaders, challenged 7th, soon led, driven right out flat, won at Uttoxeter 2m 4f mdn hdl (5) gd in Mar beating Oscar's Secret (11-2) by 2 1/4l, 10 ran.
Trop Fort (FR) 7-4fav (11-5) Led until after 3rd, chased clear leader, took closer order 4 out, led before next, headed before last, no extra flat, 2nd of 5, 4l behind Dragon's Den (10-11) at Exeter 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gf.
Marshal Zhukov (IRE) 6-1 (10-10) Tracked leading trio, travelling well after 3 out, led before next, soon clear, driven right out, won at Fontwell 2m 2f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gs beating Warsaw Pact (10-7) by 14l, 8 ran.
Little Fritz (FR) Evensfav (11-2) Made most until ridden and headed approaching 2 out, weakening when mistake last, 4th of 11, 25l behind Opening Batsman (11-2) at Wincanton 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Mar.
Pericoloso (IRE) 7-1 (11-10) Held up in rear, headway from 8th, ridden after 4 out, 4th and outpaced from next, 4th of 12, 18l behind Cocacobana (11-2) at Chepstow 3m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) sft in Mar.
Comme Je Trouve (IRE) 50-1 (10-10) Mid-division, headway 8th, no impression 3 out, 7th of 11, 33l behind Great Gusto (11-3) at Chepstow 3m NH mdn hdl (5) sft in Mar.