IMPERIAL LEADER is eased in grade and has been dropped a further pound since his latest sixth at Cheltenham when well ahead of Azure Fly. Connections will have welcomed recent rain and the Twiston-Davies' six-year-old, who usually attracts market support, should be good enough to beat these. Monetary Fund has dropped to a very attractive mark and a return to his best form would see him in the firing-line but Touch Back and San Telm were both pulled up on their latest starts and the mare Hopstrings steps out of novice company for the first time. Flaming Gorge hasn't run over hurdles since 2010 and looks to have too much weight.
Azure Fly (IRE) 10-1 (10-10) Held up towards rear, headway approaching 7th, ridden and lost place 2 out, soon weakened, 15th of 17, well behind Kingsmere (10-0) at Cheltenham 3m hcp hdl 0-145 (2) gd in Apr.
Flaming Gorge (IRE) 13-2 (11-9) With leader, led 3rd until 4th, led after 10th, headed 11th, led again after 12th, clear approaching 2 out, edged right flat, eased close home, won at Huntingdon 3m hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Apr beating Balbriggan (11-8) by 9l, 5 ran.
Imperial Leader (IRE) 6-1 (10-0) Mid-division, not fluent 1st, ridden before 3 out, headway to chase leader before next, switched left approaching last, no impression, weakened flat, 6th of 17, 25l behind Kingsmere (10-0) at Cheltenham 3m hcp hdl 0-145 (2) gd in Apr.
Touch Back (IRE) 11-1 (11-8) Raced widest in mid-division, headway chasing leaders 5th, weakened after 4 out, pulled up before next, in a race won by Double Double (11-7) at Ffos Las 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) hvy in Apr, 11 ran.
San Telm (IRE) 14-1 (10-10) Behind, mistake 2nd, not fluent 5th, soon struggling, tailed off before 5 out, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Heronry (11-2) at Ascot 3m cnd hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in Mar, 17 ran.
Monetary Fund (USA) 7-1 (11-0) Mid-division, lost place before 5th, outpaced and well held by leaders 4 out, 6th of 11, 18l behind Rydon Pynes (11-5) at Chepstow 3m hcp hdl (2) gs in Apr.
Hopstrings 20-1 (11-5) Towards rear, poor 7th 3 out, staying on in 5th before 2 out, kept in well into 2nd run-in, no chance with winner, 2nd of 12, 7l behind Pressies Girl (10-12) at Chepstow 2m 4f mrs nov hdl (4) gd in Apr.
Rock Relief (IRE) 4-1 (10-6) Chased leaders, outpaced and last from 2nd, jumped slowly 4th, behind next, stayed on from 3 out, jumped left and not fluent 2 out, went 3rd flat, no impression, 3rd of 5, 6l behind Bygones Of Brid (10-12) at Newcastle 2m hcp hdl 0-140 (3) sft in Mar.