Arctic Ben finally showed some improvement for a slide down the weights when second at Bangor and Young Hurricane has been threatening a return to winning ways. Father Shine made the frame here on a couple of occasions in December but Mister Grez was still beaten a distance behind Entertain Me when runner-up at Chepstow recently. CRUCHAIN was upped 9lb for an easy win at Cartmel but still went close on last month's comeback at Chepstow. He should be in the mix with a similar effort and Dai Burchell's charge gets the nod.
Mister Grez (FR) 6-4fav (11-12) Chased leaders, went 2nd 5 out, held when hit 3 out, no chance with winner, 2nd of 9, 23l behind Entertain Me (10-13) at Chepstow 2m 3f hcp chs 0-120 (4) gs.
Ice 'n' Easy (IRE) 16-1 (11-8) Held up in touch, outpaced after 9th, weakened before 3 out, 9th of 13, well behind Billy Dutton (11-5) at Uttoxeter 3m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gs in Mar.
Sergeant Dick (IRE) 10-1 (11-4) Led until before 2nd, chased leader, led again 8th, headed before 3 out, weakened rapidly, eased, tailed off, 6th of 8, well behind Headly's Bridge (11-2) at Newbury 2m 2f nov hcp chs (0-125) (3) hvy in Mar.
Cruchain (IRE) 5-1 (11-6) Led, quickened clear 4 out, reduced advantage 2 out, soon ridden and pressed, headed flat, no extra, 2nd of 4, 1 3/4l behind Ballywatt (11-12) at Chepstow 2m 3f hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Mar.
Arctic Ben (IRE) 7-2 (11-9) Led, hard driven approaching 2 out, led before last, kept on same pace, 2nd of 4, 6l behind King's Grace (11-10) at Bangor 2m 4f hcp chs 0-120 (4) gs in Mar.
O'callaghan Strand (AUS) 10-1 (11-5) Chased leaders until lost place after 11th, soon no chance, 5th of 9, 38l behind Entertain Me (10-13) at Chepstow 2m 3f hcp chs 0-120 (4) gs.
Young Hurricane (IRE) 2-1fav (11-12) Prominent, led 4 out, ridden 2 out, headed closing stages, no extra, 2nd of 8, 1/2l behind Baltic Pathfinder (10-9) at Sedgefield 2m 6f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gs.
Father Shine (IRE) 10-1 (10-11) Held up in rear, ridden after 4 out, weakened after 3 out, last of 5, 16l behind Great Value (11-12) at Southwell 2m 4f hcp chs 0-120 (4) gd in Mar.