Invicta Lake landed a large-field Wincanton hurdle last month - a notable improvement on previous efforts - and has obvious claims if in the same mood here. However, a 9lb rise for a 1.5 length success does seem a little harsh. Cru Classe is obviously an interesting French raider for the Lagarde team and must be checked in the market, especially in receipt of so much weight all round. Auld Sthock has already shown how well he acts around this unique circuit in finishing runner-up here the last twice and seems sure to be involved once again now stepping into handicap company. He has a definite fitness edge over HENRYVILLE with those recent runs under his belt but Harry Fry usually has his charges revved up first time. The topweight showed considerable promise last term and may have too much class for the opposition, especially as he is guaranteed to receive maximum assistance from the saddle.
Henryville 5-2 (11-5) Held up in rear, headway 6th, chased leaders after 3 out, went 2nd before last, never troubled winner, 2nd of 10, 9l behind Sound Investment (11-5) at Wincanton 2m 4f nov hdl (4) gd in Apr.
Auld Sthock (IRE) 6-4fav (11-0) Led until after 1st, tracked leader, not fluent 2nd, led again after 3rd, driven and headed flat, held towards finish, 2nd of 13, 1 1/2l behind Ashdown Lad (11-0) at Plumpton 2m mdn hdl (5) hvy.
Invicta Lake (IRE) 10-1 (11-7) Held up towards rear, steady headway after 3 out, travellling well before next, tracke dleaders from 2 out, produced to lead going to the last, kept on well flat, won at Wincanton 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gd in Oct beating Bold Raider (10-11) by 1 1/2l, 17 ran.
Arrayan 14-1 (11-2) Led and soon clear, not fluent 5th, mistake and headed 3 out, no extra when blundered next, soon weakened, 8th of 9, 44l behind Tuscan Gold (11-5) at Worcester 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gd in Apr.
King Ozzy (IRE) 20-1 (11-8) Tracked leader, ridden and weakened quickly after 7th, pulled up 2 out, in a race won by Mrs Peachey (11-8) at Huntingdon 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gd in Oct, 11 ran.
Cru Classe (FR) (10-12) 5th of 7, 15l behind Garussian (11-4) at Moulins(FR) 2m 3f chs sft in Oct.