Skint has never really fulfilled early promise and needs some help from the handicapper but Stone Light still has time on her side and is having only her second start over fences having finished a fair third at Exeter in December. UMBERTO D'OLIVATE has already won twice over the larger obstacles and was always going well when defying a big weight at Exeter last month. This is a step up in grade but he should be equal to the task and is preferred to Sandown third Roger Beantown, who is better over further, and the less-exposed Sir Valentino.
Roger Beantown (IRE) 16-1 (11-9) Held up, headway 4th, one pace in 4th when blundered 2 out, went 3rd towards finish, 3rd of 6, 9l behind Sew On Target (11-10) at Sandown 2m hcp chs 0-130 (3) hvy.
Skint 9-2 (10-7) Held up mid-division, headway before 2 out, kept on run-in, 3rd of 9, 3l behind Zaplamation (10-1) at Wetherby 2m (3) gs in Dec.
Umberto D'olivate (FR) 8-1 (11-12) Prominent, went 2nd 4 out, led next, clear 2 out, stayed on well, won at Exeter 2m 1f hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Jan beating Kingcora (11-4) by 5l, 9 ran.
Sir Valentino (FR) 11-2 (10-7) Tracked leaders, jumped left 3rd, not fluent 5th, went 2nd approaching 7th until approaching 4 out, every chance when hit 4 out, went 2nd approaching 2 out, challenged last, every chance when carried left flat, no extra and held close home, 2nd of 5, nk behind Lord Of House (11-7) at Ludlow 2m (3) hvy in Jan.
Stone Light (FR) 9-5fav (10-11) Took keen hold tracking leading pair, hit 9th, went 2nd 2 out, no impression when dropped to 3rd and hit last, 3rd of 5, 7l behind Midnight Lira (10-2) at Exeter 2m 3f mares nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) sft in Dec.