An open handicap and from a shortlist of CARAVEL, Modicum, Amanda Carter and Palomar, it is the first-named who can maintain his unbeaten record at the track. The selection was a smart recruit from Sir Mark Prescott's yard but despite some solid form he has never gone on to reach the heights expected or justify his 160,000 guineas price tag. However he runs this track well and a mark of 127 looks feasible on what he has achieved so far. Los Nadis is another with a good track record and his third to Mesbaah in November reads well, whilst Modicum was a decent chaser who looks well-treated on this return to hurdles. He was only beaten ten lengths by Tidal Bay at Aintree in May 2008 and if fit after an absence he must run well. Palomar has some solid handicap form this season since reverting to hurdles and he looks a different animal, Doeslessthanme has talent but probably looks the stable second string, whilst River Logic represents a yard in good form and a strong tempo would suit. Dabaratsa looks poorly handicapped so of more interest is Amanda Carter who will be fit after a recent flat spin and she looks a good recruit to hurdling. An intriguing handicap, and one in which we will plump for Caravel.
Los Nadis (GER) 22-1 (11-9) Mid-division, headway 7th, weakened 2 out, 12th of 13, 24l behind Sendali (10-0) at Catterick 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft in Jan.
Caravel (IRE) 5-1 (11-12) Held up, headway on outside before 3 out, ridden last, stayed on under pressure to chase winner flat, no impression, 2nd of 11, 3l behind Hello Nod (10-10) at Kelso 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gd in Oct.
Modicum (USA) 13-2 (11-5) In touch, not fluent 2nd, mistake 4th, behind 8th, pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Briareus (11-8) at Kempton 2m chs (2) gs in Nov '08, 6 ran.
Palomar (USA) 14-1 (10-9) Raced keenly, headway on inside before 2 out, soon ridden, stayed on to chase winner flat, no impression, 2nd of 12, 2l behind Eradicate (10-13) at Musselburgh 2m hcp hdl 0-145 (2) gs.
Doeslessthanme (IRE) 10-1 (10-8) Chased leaders, pushed along before 2 out, weakened before last, 6th of 16, 12l behind Arctic Magic (10-2) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-120 (2) sft in Jan.
River Logic (IRE) 11-2 (11-12) Held up behind, pushed along approaching 7th, no impression from 2 out, 5th of 11, 17l behind Iconoclast (11-6) at Bangor 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft in Dec.
Dabaratsa (FR) 3-1fav (11-8) Chased leaders, went 2nd approaching 4th to approaching 3 out, still every chance, weakened from 2 out, left modest 4th last, 4th of 7, 7l behind Ocean Transit (11-3) at Ludlow 2m mares hcp hdl 0-115 (4) sft in Dec.
Amanda Carter 2-1fav (10-7) Held up mid-division, every chance approaching 2 out, led last, edged left run-in, driven out, won at Musselburgh 2m mdn hdl (5) gs in Dec beating Rose Street (10-7) by 2 1/4l, 13 ran.
King's Majesty (IRE) 16-1 (10-13) Behind, headway after 3 out, no extra from last, 5th of 15, 15l behind Hassadin (10-7) at Catterick 2m 3f sell (5) gs.