Ferdy Murphy's string is in better form now and BADGERS RETREAT sprang a surprise at Sedgefield last month. The drop in distance may not be ideal but he can follow up against largely disappointing opposition. King's Grace has been placed three times over fences but was pulled up at Haydock last time, albeit in stronger company. Special Robon was third at Wincanton last time but rarely runs two races alike while Advisor looks a shadow of his former self nowadays.
Nomadic Dreamer 100-1 (10-9) Chased leaders, pecked badly 1st, mid-division, weakened before 2 out, 7th of 12, 37l behind Wiesentraum (11-2) at Doncaster 2m 3f beg chs (3) gs in Dec.
King's Grace 8-1 (10-1) Tracked leaders on inside, not fluent 1st, challenged 5th, not fluent 10th or when losing place next, pulled up before 5 out, in a race won by Noble Legend (11-1) at Haydock 2m 6f hcp chs (2) gs in Mar, 16 ran.
Advisor (FR) 10-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders, mistake 1st, went 2nd when not fluent 10th, not fluent and weakened 2 out, 4th of 6, 19l behind Apache Dawn (11-0) at Taunton 2m 3f beg chase (4) gf in Apr.
Special Robon (FR) 7-2 (11-7) Led until 3rd, tracked leader, ridden after 10th, jumped slowly 11th, driven after 3 out (normal 4 out), one pace in 3rd bypassing omitted last, 3rd of 6, 11l behind Whispering Jack (11-4) at Wincanton 2m 5f nov hcp chs 0-115 (4) gs in Mar.
Badgers Retreat 14-1 (10-10) Held up towards rear, hampered 9th, went 3rd from 13th, ridden before 2 out, chased leader before last, kept on to lead towards finish, won at Sedgefield 2m 6f nov hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd in Apr beating Hawaii Klass (11-5) by 1/2l, 6 ran.
Xenophon 12-1 (10-0) Chased leaders, lost touch after 6th, soon beaten, modest 4th, last of 4, 38l behind Flaming Gorge (11-12) at Market Rasen 2m 4f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Apr.