MAD MAX may not find this arena as fearsome as the Thunderdome but there are some rivals capable of making him work for this contest. Pause And Clause, Shoreacres and Cockney Trucker won't go down without a fight. The selection has always stood out due to his giant frame but he has the ability to match and remains unbeaten. He won both of his bumpers at this track before justifying market support to score on his hurdling bow at Ascot. The victory didn't appear to be as impressive as expected but the second went on to thrash a Nicholls hotpot at Cheltenham and is no mug. His jumping was pretty impressive for a newcomer and he can retain his unbeaten record. Cockney Trucker was only beaten three quarters of a length by Dee Ee Williams before landing the odds at this course and he has to be respected with this longer trip sure to suit. Shoreacres was another to taste defeat at the hands of Dee Ee Williams but he could improve again for this longer trip and may not have benefited from cutting out his own running. Pause And Clause showed decent form in bumpers and could well leave the form of his run in heavy ground at Chepstow behind and he may jump more proficiently on this better ground. The market has provided a useful guide to expectations for the yard's runners this season. Teddy's Reflection won well at Fontwell but faces a different calibre of rival; however, he's worth keeping an eye on as are Penharold and Traffic Control but the main protagonists are well above average and Mad Max could be the cream of the crop.
Cockney Trucker (IRE) 11-8fav (11-0) Held up in mid-division, headway to chase leaders when hit 4 out, challenged 3 out, led 2 out, driven between last 2, stayed on well run-in, won at Newbury 2m nov hdl (3) gs in Nov beating Unfurled (11-0) by 1 1/2l, 12 ran.
Mad Max (IRE) 2-5fav (10-12) Keen, close up, tracked leading pair 7th, challenged 3 out, led 2 out, kept on well and readily held runner up flat, won at Ascot 2m 3f nh nov hdl (3) gd in Nov beating Karabak (10-12) by 1l, 9 ran.
Shoreacres (IRE) 10-3jt-fav (11-5) Led, ridden and strongly pressed 2 out, driven and kept on well flat, headed towards finish, lost 2nd last strides, 3rd of 8, 1l behind Dee Ee Williams (11-5) at Ascot 2m hdl (2) gd in Nov.
Teddy's Reflection (IRE) 25-1 (10-12) Held up towards rear, steady progress from 6th, led approaching last, ran on strongly, won at Fontwell 2m 2f nov hdl (4) sft in Dec beating Limbo King (10-12) by 8l, 11 ran.
Galaxy Rock (IRE) 16-1 (10-9) Held up, headway halfway, ridden over 2f out, soon held, 5th of 15, 23l behind Swansbrook (11-0) at Hereford 2m 1f nhf (6) gs in Dec.
Imminent Victory (10-8) Strong headway to lead after last, drew clear, won at Krefeld 2m 1f hcp chs in Nov beating Forfeiter (11-3) by 3l, 13 ran.
Iveragh Lad (IRE) 66-1 (11-7) Mid-division, pushed along from 6th, soon lost touch, 9th of 11, well behind Silver Dollars (11-11) at Folkestone 2m 5f hts chs (6) gf in May.
Our Hero (IRE) (11-7) Prominent, led 2 out, left clear last, won at Maralin 3m ire ptp gf in Oct '07 beating Flemross (11-7) by 10l, 9 ran.
Pause And Clause (IRE) 7-1 (11-0) Held up, headway approaching 4 out, soon outpaced, staying on when pecked 2 out, left 3rd approaching last, 3rd of 9, 16l behind Duke of Miskin (10-11) at Chepstow 2m 4f hdl (3) hvy in Dec.
Penharold (IRE) 16-1 (10-12) Mid-division, headway 7th, ridden to chase winner 2 out, one pace and not fluent last, 2nd of 15, 5l behind Finney (10-12) at Hereford 2m 4f nov hdl (4) gs in Dec.
Peterfly (FR) (10-12) Led to 3 out, weakened quickly, 5th of 6, 19l behind Orateur Collonges (11-3) at Cluny 2m 4f chs gd in Sept.
Quick Shot (FR) 10-1 (10-12) Chased leader, ridden over 2f out, soon weakened, 8th of 15, 8l behind Yonder (10-5) at Exeter 1m 5f nhf (5) gf in Oct '07.
See Me Soon 50-1 (10-12) Keen, tracked leader, led after 5th, ridden and headed after 2 out, weakened, 5th of 16, 4 1/2l behind Covert Mission (10-2) at Hereford 2m 1f nov hdl (4) sft in Dec.
The Arsonist (IRE) 3-1 (10-12) In touch, not fluent 5th, soon driven, outpaced next, stayed on from 2 out, no chance with winner, 2nd of 10, 14l behind Darfen (10-12) at Stratford 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Jul.
Traffic Control (IRE) 11-8fav (10-7) Led, headed over 1f out and weakened, 7th of 10, 21l behind Springfield Raki (11-7) at Towcester 2m nhf (5) sft in Nov.
Lyrical Chant (IRE) 66-1 (10-10) Ran green and jumped slowly 1st and 2nd, not jumped well towards rear after, weakened 6th, tailed off, 12th of 16, well behind Aussie Deal (10-10) at Exeter 2m 3f mrs nov hdl (4) sft in Dec.