This looks quite competitive for the grade with a few recent winners to consider. Carnac scored over C&D before helping set too strong a pace back here last week which allowed Storm Hawk to take advantage. The latter will need things to go his way again if he's to follow up, but First Rock should be in the firing-line once more having won nicely over track and trip last month. However, the latter had earlier found RIVER DRAGON too good in soft ground at Newcastle and, given Tony Coyle's charge has won over hurdle since and handles the Fibresand, he looks the one to beat in his current form.
Shifting Gold (IRE) 16-1 (9-0) Dwelt, held up towards rear, outpaced over 5f out, kept on from over 1f out, no impression, 5th of 8, 18l behind Beat The Shower (9-4) at Beverley 2m hcp 0-85 (4) sft in Aug.
Calculating (IRE) 40-1 (8-10) Tracked leaders, lost place 7f out, well behind final 4f, last of 8, 34l behind Right Stuff (10-0) at Kempton 2m hcp 0-85 (4) pol.
Ay Tay Tate (IRE) 11-2 (8-11) Pushed along to lead, set strong pace, clear 10f out, reduced lead 4f out, ridden and headed 2f out, kept on one pace, 4th of 6, 3 1/2l behind Mazij (9-2) at Southwell 1m 4f hcp 0-75 (5) fbs.
Blackmore 12-1 (9-0) Led, ridden over 4f out, headed well over 2f out, weakened entering final furlong, 4th of 8, 11l behind Right Stuff (10-0) at Kempton 2m hcp 0-85 (4) pol.
First Rock (IRE) 5-2fav (8-13) Keen held up in rear, headway 5f out, went 2nd over 3f out, led over 2f out, shaken up and clear over 1f out, readily, won at Southwell 2m hcp 0-75 (5) fbs in Nov beating Calculating (9-9) by 2 3/4l, 7 ran.
Storm Hawk (IRE) 8-1 (9-6) Dwelt held up towards rear, good headway 5f out, tracked leaders 4f out, led 2f out, soon clear, eased final furlong, comfortably, won at Southwell 1m 6f hcp (0-65) (6) fbs beating Carnac (9-4) by 7l, 12 ran.
River Dragon (IRE) 2-1 (9-2) Made most, ridden 2f out, stayed on strongly, won at Ayr 1m 6f hcp 0-70 (5) hvy in Oct beating Lady Bluesky (8-11) by 1 3/4l, 4 ran.
Carnac (IRE) 7-2fav (9-4) Tracked leader, led over 4f out, ridden and headed 2f out, kept on one pace, 2nd of 12, 7l behind Storm Hawk (9-6) at Southwell 1m 6f hcp (0-65) (6) fbs.
Dubara Reef (IRE) 12-1 (8-13) Led early, tracked leaders, ridden 4f out, kept on one pace, 6th of 11, 11l behind Dream Catcher (9-7) at Wolverhampton 2m hcp (0-65) (6) pol.