Pistol Basc is upped 6lb for last month's victory at Catterick but had scored over these fences earlier and should be in the mix once again. PRINCE BLACKTHORN was also successful over track and trip on his latest start and, open to further progress on only his fourth outing over fences, gets the vote to follow up despite a rise in the weights. Cloudy Dawn has been placed over longer trips recently but just the one win in 19 starts over the larger obstacles doesn't inspire confidence and Forestside may prove a bigger threat dropping a further 4lb down the handicap.
Samtheman 20-1 (11-6) Mid-division, mistake and lost place 5th, pushed along 11th, hampered 4 out, stayed on from next, went 4th last, no impression, 4th of 13, 14l behind River Purple (10-7) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-100 (5) sft in Dec.
Pistol Basc (FR) 11-2 (11-0) Tracked leaders, led 3 out, hard ridden when strongly challenged after last, just held on, won at Catterick 2m 3f hcp 0-100 (5) sft in Dec beating Moonlight Maggie (10-2) by hd, 7 ran.
Monbeg (IRE) 12-1 (11-0) In rear, stayed on from after 2 out, went 3rd run-in, nearest at finish, 3rd of 8, 15l behind Dingo Bay (10-8) at Newcastle 2m 4f hcp chs 0-100 (5) hvy.
Runswick Relax 10-1 (11-9) Behind, reminders after 3rd, struggling 13th, soon lost touch and pulled up, in a race won by Matmata de Tendron (10-6) at Hexham 3m 1f hcp chs 0-95 (5) sft in Nov, 9 ran.
Forestside (IRE) 8-1 (10-10) Tracked leaders in 3rd, pushed along before 4 out, soon weakened, 5th of 6, 36l behind Civil Unrest (11-5) at Musselburgh 2m hcp chs 0-100 (5) sft.
Prince Blackthorn (IRE) 5-1 (10-4) Held up towards rear, took keen hold, headway before 3 out, led before 2 out, clear before last, kept on well, won at Sedgefield 2m 4f hcp 0-100 (5) gs in Dec beating Farm Pixie (11-5) by 4l, 7 ran.
Wave Breaker (IRE) 13-2 (10-7) Led, headed after 2nd, tracked leader, pushed along before 4 out, weakened before 3 out, 5th of 8, well behind Morning Time (11-5) at Hexham 2m hcp hdl 0-95 (5) sft in Nov.
Cloudy Dawn 9-4fav (10-1) Chased leaders on outside, mistake 11th, jumped slowly 14th, pushed along 17th, hung left and no extra after 2 out, 6th of 8, 14l behind Great Ocean Road (9-9) at Sedgefield 3m 3f hcp 0-100 (5) sft in Nov.