Palos Conti was still beaten a distance when runner-up here last month but ROC DE GUYE fared better when second to Drumlang at Leicester. This seems less competitive and James Evans' charge looks up to winning off his current mark as he goes well fresh. Phoenix Des Mottes scored over a longer trip here recently and went close to defying a 10lb hike in the weights at Stratford last week. He should be in the mix again while Taffy Thomas won twice over these fences back in 2012 and has slipped down the weights since.
Palos Conti (FR) 5-1 (11-6) Held up in rear, headway halfway, blundered 5 out, chased winner after 4 out, no impression, 2nd of 6, 25l behind Orange Nassau (11-12) at Market Rasen 3m 1f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gs in Mar.
Roc De Guye (FR) 10-1 (10-10) Held up towards rear, closed on outside after 5th, went 2nd last, stayed on same pace, no chance with winner, 2nd of 9, 11l behind Drumlang (11-5) at Leicester 2m 4f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gf in Dec.
Taffy Thomas 5-4fav (11-5) Tracked leaders, closed 7th, pecked 9th, every chance when mistake 4 out, not fluent next, weakened from 2 out, last of 4, 26l behind Thedreamstillalive (9-11) at Leicester 2m 4f Am hcp ch 0-100 (5) sft in Mar.
Mister Wall Street (FR) 9-1 (11-9) Chased (clear) winner, lost 2nd approaching 4th, chased leading pair, no impression from 5th (3 out), hit last, 3rd of 6, 22l behind Hotgrove Boy (10-6) at Sedgefield 2m hcp chs 0-100 (5) gs in Mar.
Ifonlyalfie 20-1 (10-13) Prominent, not fluent and pecked 1st, went 2nd 7th, led after 12th, headed 3 out, 4th and no extra next, 5th of 12, 30l behind Salut Honore (11-2) at Towcester 2m 6f hcp 0-100 (5) gs in Nov.
Phoenix Des Mottes (FR) 11-2 (9-9) Pressed leader, driven to challenge after 2 out, 2 lengths down last, ridden and rallied flat, every chance towards finish, just held, 2nd of 7, nk behind Little Jimmy (10-7) at Stratford 2m 4f hcp chs 0-105 (4) gs in Mar.
Xenophon 28-1 (9-10) Towards rear, ridden 3 out, plugged on to take remote 4th after next, no chance with leaders, 4th of 12, 34l behind Iconic Rose (11-5) at Southwell 3m hcp hdl 0-100 (5) gs in Dec.