Formal Bid, a rare runner here for Gordon Elliott, won a handicap at Kilbeggan and a claimer at Perth last month but has a similar official rating to ROWLESTONE LAD. John Flint's gelding is fit from the Flat and both victories last season came on soft ground so he gets the nod. Imperial Stargazer has been placed in four of his seven runs over obstacles but nearly all of his form is on a faster surface while Langley needs to improve on his run at Ffos Las in August.
Formal Bid (IRE) 6-4fav (11-4) Held up, headway 3 out, ridden after 2 out, challenged before last, led flat, held on, won at Perth 2m clm hdl (4) gs in Sep beating Outrageous Request (11-4) by nk, 8 ran.
Rowlestone Lad 12-1 (11-5) Held up towards rear, headway to chase leaders after 3rd, led before last, 4 lengths ahead when hit last, tired badly flat, just held on, all out, won at Fakenham 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft in Mar beating Shannon Spirit (11-6) by ns, 11 ran.
Langley 16-1 (10-9) Held up in touch, switched outside and headway 3rd, challenged 3 out, outpaced next, weakened before last, 7th of 8, 14l behind James Pollard (10-13) at Ffos Las 2m clm hdl (5) gd in Aug.
Imperial Stargazer 4-1 (10-12) Chased leaders, ridden in 3rd and held when mistake 2 out, hit last, 3rd of 13, 10l behind Golanova (10-12) at Plumpton 2m 2f nh nov hdl (4) gf in Sep.
Kyles Faith (IRE) 20-1 (11-0) Mid-division, no impression on leaders 3 out, blundered 2 out, stayed on same pace, 6th of 13, 15l behind Village Vic (11-0) at Worcester 2m 4f mdn hdl (5) gd in Sep.
Waving 33-1 (10-7) Close up, ridden approaching 2 out, weakened last, 8th of 12, 30l behind Azure Fly (11-5) at Huntingdon 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd.