This looks to be a suitable opportunity for SOULARD to open his account for this yard. Last year's winner Busy Isit is sure to have been primed for a repeat whilst Oracle Des Mottes has place claims once again. The selection shaped with plenty of promise for John Spearing last year and has shown up well for this yard in a limited campaign this season. He was a little disappointing on his penultimate start but bounced back to form when chasing home a Pipe hotpot last time and faces nothing of that quality here. Busy Isit has been absent since winning this race a year ago and, consequently, has a 7lb higher mark to contend with but he has a good record when fresh and is clearly suited by the demands of this test. Oracle Des Mottes is relatively consistent and more of an each-way option whilst the likes of Fit To Drive and Commemoration Day are more than capable on their day. Boomshakalaka and Nikos Extra would be feared if the market were to give out the right signals but preference is for Soulard.
Fit To Drive 12-1 (10-1) In touch, 2nd and every chance when fell 4 out, in a race won by Can't Buy Time (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) sft in Jan, 12 ran.
Commemoration Day (IRE) 14-1 (11-6) Held up mid-division, lost place 9th, weakened 6 out, 5th of 8, 47l behind Psychomodo (11-12) at Ascot 2m 3f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in Nov.
Boomshakalaka (IRE) 10-1 (11-3) Tracked leaders, weakened approaching 3 out, tailed off, 10th of 13, well behind Poquelin (11-12) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gf in Oct.
William Butler (IRE) 40-1 (10-8) Held up, headway 4th, hit 8th, lost place when not fluent 11th, struggling when mistake 13th, tailed off, last of 10, well behind Piraya (10-9) at Warwick 2m 4f hcp chs (2) gs in Feb.
Nikos Extra (FR) 2-1fav (11-9) Held up, unseated rider 11th, in a race won by Daldini (11-1) at Southwell 3m hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Feb, 9 ran.
Oracle des Mottes (FR) 9-2 (11-12) Held up in rear, jumped slowly 7th, headway after 4 out, chased leaders next, weakened before last, 3rd of 8, 20l behind Soixante (11-10) at Kempton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Feb.
Busy Isit 11-4fav (11-0) Sprawled badly 1st, rear, recovered and in touch 4th, hit next, went 3rd and hit 7th, blundered 12th, hit 4 out and ridden, led and bumped 3 out, soon ridden clear, won at Sandown 2m 4f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Mar '09 beating Borora (11-5) by 5l, 7 ran.
Supreme Duke (IRE) 11-2 (11-11) Held up, outpaced 4 out, behind when fell next, in a race won by Noun De La Thinte (10-5) at Southwell 2m 4f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Jan, 13 ran.
Soulard (USA) 9-1 (11-8) With winner, led briefly from 4th, ridden and no impression on winner from 3 out, 2nd of 10, 12l behind Salut Flo (11-2) at Doncaster 2m 3f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd.
Launde (IRE) 7-2 (11-11) Well in rear, tailed off 11th, soon pulled up, in a race won by Blu Teen (11-7) at Sandown 2m 4f hts chs (5) sft in Feb, 8 ran.
Royal Wedding 20-1 (10-11) Always in rear, tailed off when pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Nicto De Beauchene (10-11) at Kempton 3m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Feb, 11 ran.
Lidjo De Rouge (FR) 12-1 (10-0) Behind, headway into modest 5th after 4 out, plugged on, 4th of 11, 17l behind Nicto De Beauchene (10-11) at Kempton 3m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Feb.