An ultra-competitive start to proceedings, though most of these will probably be seen to better effect when going chasing next season. Nicky Henderson won it last year with Skint and is represented this time around by Speed Master, who is seeking a four-timer, and Kings Lodge, who won at Market Rasen in the autumn but has since finished behind stablemate Thanks For Coming here and another of today's rivals, Aikideau, at Plumpton. Last month's C&D winner Off The Ground appears the pick of Emma Lavelle's pair and Jonjo O'Neill's Merry King is chasing a hat-trick after wins at Leicester and Ffos Las while Carrigmorna King stayed on well to score at Newbury in January and the second has won since. KUILSRIVER is still a maiden but boasts some very decent form, including a sixth in the Lanzarote at Kempton two runs ago. He's potentially well treated on that effort and could go close at a working man's price.
Ambion Wood (IRE) 5-1 (11-8) Held up mid-division, headway 4 out, weakened after 3 out, 5th of 9, 21l behind Brindisi Breeze (11-8) at Haydock 3m nov hdl G2 (1) hvy in Feb.
Grove Pride 11-4 (11-2) Headway to lead 2nd, made rest, 2 lengths lead and travelling best when left well clear 2 out, won at Ascot 2m 3f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (3) gs in Jan beating Diamond Life (11-2) by 14l, 11 ran.
Dualla Lord (IRE) 11-4 (11-2) Soon tracking leader, mistake 5th, ridden and lost 2nd before 2 out, weakened soon after, 3rd of 14, 9l behind Ifyouletmefinish (11-2) at Taunton 2m 1f nov hdl (4) gs in Feb.
Aikideau (FR) 5-4fav (11-11) Raced wide, tracked leading pair, went 2nd after 4th, led before 3 out, stayed on well from last, comfortably, won at Plumpton 2m 5f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Jan beating Ruling Party (11-5) by 3 1/2l, 8 ran.
Moorland Sunset 10-1 (11-4) Led, headed 2 out, beaten in 3rd before last, weakened flat, 3rd of 12, 20l behind Theatre Guide (11-2) at Wincanton 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Feb.
Thanks For Coming 9-2 (11-8) Held up mid-division, headway before 2 out to go 4th, went 3rd from last, one pace, 3rd of 14, 14l behind Bold Chief (11-2) at Warwick 2m 3f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (4) gd in Feb.
Off The Ground (IRE) 7-1 (11-10) Mid-division, smooth headway after 3 out, led last, ridden and hard pressed flat, just held on, won at Sandown 2m 4f nov hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gs in Feb beating Tante Sissi (11-5) by nk, 16 ran.
Speed Master (IRE) 4-5fav (11-5) Held up towards rear, headway before 3 out, led before 2 out, kept on strongly, driven out, won at Towcester 2m NH nov hdl 4-6yo (4) gs in Dec beating Kala Patthar (10-5) by 4l, 11 ran.
Kings Lodge 8-13fav (11-12) Tracked leaders, went right and not fluent 3rd, challenged after 8th, led next, ridden and headed 2 out, wandered before last, one pace, 2nd of 7, 4 1/2l behind Aikideau (11-6) at Plumpton 2m 5f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (3) hvy in Jan.
Elsafeer (IRE) 9-1 (11-5) Held up mid-division, weakened before 2 out, 9th of 10, 36l behind Attaglance (11-9) at Market Rasen 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Feb.
Gleann Eagas (IRE) 8-1 (11-8) Led until 2nd, chased leader, mistake 5th, lost 2nd and mistake next, hit 3 out, left modest 4th 2 out, kept on to poor 3rd post, 3rd of 11, 25l behind Grove Pride (11-2) at Ascot 2m 3f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (3) gs in Jan.
Merry King (IRE) 5-4fav (11-8) Raced wide, held up towards rear, good headway to chase leaders after 4th, went 2nd and hung left from 2 out, led and went left last, hung left and idled flat, just held on, won at Ffos Las 2m 4f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (4) sft in Feb beating Society Shares (10-13) by nk, 10 ran.
Same Difference (IRE) 7-1 (11-10) Chased leaders, hampered 2nd, headway 3 out, weakened next, 3rd of 6, 25l behind Rocky Creek (11-6) at Doncaster 3m nov hdl G2 (1) gs in Jan.
Thomas Crapper 13-2 (11-2) Held up in rear, headway to chase leaders 3 out, chased winner before 2 out, no impression, 2nd of 14, 7l behind Bold Chief (11-2) at Warwick 2m 3f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (4) gd in Feb.
Kuilsriver (IRE) 3-1 (11-2) Close up, tracked leader after 7th, led after 4 out, headed next, chased winner, challenged last, kept on but always held, 2nd of 12, 1 3/4l behind Open Hearted (11-7) at Fakenham 2m 4f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (3) gs in Feb.
Jumps Road 15-8 (11-8) Held up in rear, headway 5th, went 2nd before 3 out, led before and went left 2 out, not fluent and headed last, stayed on under pressure flat, lost 2nd close home, 3rd of 10, 1/2l behind Merry King (11-8) at Ffos Las 2m 4f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (4) sft in Feb.
Carrigmorna King (IRE) 6-4fav (10-12) Chased leaders, went 2nd 6th until 4 out, went 2nd again before next, challenged and dived at 2 out, led soon after, edged right under pressure flat, stayed on well, won at Newbury 2m 3f nov hdl (4) sft in Jan beating Sunny Ledgend (10-12) by 1 1/4l, 16 ran.
Presenting Ace (IRE) 7-1 (11-2) Behind, headway 5th, every chance approaching last, soon hung left, faded flat, 4th of 10, 9l behind Oscar Nominee (11-8) at Doncaster 2m NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (4) gd in Feb.