Paul Nicholls won this valuable handicap l2 months ago with Doeslessthanme and relies on Ulck Du Lin this year. The top weight won at Newbury and Ascot before being pulled up in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham but looks a shade high in the weights now. Eastlake ground out a game win on heavy going at Sandown last month and has improved over the winter. But the fifth that day, FALCON ISLAND, enjoys a big turnaround in the weights today and is also much better off with Ulck Du Lin when behind that one in a couple of runs earlier in the campaign. With Brendan Powell taking off a further 3lb, Joe Tizzard's gelding may be worth an interest in this tight affair as the handicapper may have got to Shangani and Keki Buku is running out of chances.
Ulck Du Lin (FR) 7-1 (11-3) Mid-division on inside, mistake 3rd, soon towards rear, struggling 7th, pulled up before 10th, in a race won by Alderwood (10-11) at Cheltenham 2m hcp chs G3 (1) sft, 23 ran.
Shangani (USA) 6-1 (11-9) Prominent, hit 4 out, challenged next, led before 2 out, soon headed, stayed on same pace flat, 4th of 20, 11l behind Rajdhani Express (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m 4f Listed Novice Handicap Chase (0-140) (5yo+) (1) sft.
Falcon Island 7-1 (11-4) Led until after 2nd, lost place 7th, soon beaten, 5th of 9, 18l behind Eastlake (10-8) at Sandown 2m hcp chs 0-145 (2) hvy in Feb.
Eastlake (IRE) 11-2 (10-8) Always prominent, led before 3rd, strongly challenged when mistake 2 out, stayed on well, won at Sandown 2m hcp chs 0-145 (2) hvy in Feb beating Lord Singer (10-2) by 6l, 9 ran.
Keki Buku (FR) 9-2 (11-9) Held up in rear, steady headway approaching 9th, chased leaders soon after, ridden before went 3rd 3 out, stayed on same pace in 3rd from next, 3rd of 8, 6l behind Silver Roque (11-12) at Newbury 2m 1f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs.