Sound Investment tries 2m4f for the first time over fences but his trainer also runs the less-exposed Vesperal Dream. Massena is better over fences but untried over this trip and takes a keen hold. Foundation Man has gone up 7lb since just beaten at Wetherby but has McCoy doing the steering so goes on the short-list along with Market Rasen runner-up Hatters River and the consistent Kitegen. BALLINCURRIG was all out to complete a double at Stratford earlier this month but appears to have got his act together now and may well be capable of finding the necessary to defy a further 6lb rise in the weights.
Sound Investment (IRE) 8-1 (11-2) Held up in touch, lost place 7th, soon in rear, 13th of 16, 44l behind Parsnip Pete (10-10) at Aintree 2m hcp chs G3 (1) gd.
Grandads Horse 7-1 (11-2) Sometimes jumped right, led, hit 5th and 10th, headed 4 out, weakened before next, tailed off, last of 8, well behind Pepite Rose (11-12) at Newbury 2m 4f hcp chs 0-150 (2) gs in Mar.
Massena (IRE) 3-1 (11-12) Several slow jumps, led until 1st, chased leaders, pushed along after 9th, driven 4 out, no impression, went 3rd flat, 3rd of 5, 6l behind Kie (11-11) at Wincanton 2m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd.
Christopher Wren (USA) 40-1 (9-9) Always in rear, lost touch and pulled up before 4 out, in a race won by Ballynagour (10-9) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp chs G3 (1) gd in Mar, 23 ran.
Foundation Man (IRE) 5-4fav (11-12) Led, ridden before 4 out, blundered last, kept on and headed close home, 2nd of 7, nk behind My Idea (10-8) at Wetherby 2m 6f hcp chs 0-120 (4) gs in Mar.
Kitegen (IRE) 4-1 (11-2) Chased leaders, dropped to rear after 4th, in touch 6th, driven to chase leading pair before 4 out, soon ridden, stayed on to take moderate 2nd at last, no chance with easy winner, 2nd of 5, 13l behind Witness In Court (11-7) at Haydock 2m (3) gd.
Ballincurrig (IRE) 7-1 (10-13) Led briefly 2nd, soon steadied in touch, headway 10th, chased leaders 2 out, went 2nd approaching and hit last, rallied under pressure to lead final 100 yards, won at Stratford 2m 4f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gd beating Wings Of Smoke (11-8) by 1/2l, 9 ran.
Hatters River (IRE) 5-2fav (11-9) Led, blundered 3rd, pressed from 3 out, blundered badly last, soon headed, no extra, 2nd of 7, 1 1/2l behind Highbury High (10-11) at Market Rasen 2m 4f hcp chs 0-120 (4) gs in Mar.
De Blacksmith (IRE) 6-4fav (11-4) Led, ridden and headed before 2 out, kept on same pace, 3rd of 5, 4l behind Suerte Al Salto (11-2) at Plumpton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gs.
Vesperal Dream (FR) 7-1 (10-11) Mid-division, headway approaching 3 out, went 3rd after 3 out, 2nd approaching 2 out, ridden one pace and no impression run-in, 2nd of 13, 1 1/4l behind Garde La Victoire (11-12) at Taunton 2m 3f nh nov hdl (4) gd.