Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson will no doubt be going head-to-head plenty of times in the months ahead but the Ditcheat handler can come out on top today via ORABORA. Second in a point-to-point last month, the Alflora gelding is a half-brother to two winners on the Flat so shouldn't be found wanting over this shorter trip. Western Approaches has already won a bumper at Bangor but she disappointed when heavily backed at Southwell next time and doesn't look one of her stable's leading lights. Teutonic Knight's third at Lingfield has worked out well but this is his first start since while Douchkirk must carry a penalty for last month's C&D win and Bollistick returns from a short break.
In Close (USA) 16-1 (11-2) Pressed leader until 5f out, weakened 4f out, tailed off, 5th of 6, 42l behind Tiger's Jacey (10-6) at Ffos Las 2m NH flat (6) gf.
Douchkirk (FR) 13-2 (11-0) Chased leaders, led 5f out, in command over 1f out stayed on well, won at Stratford 2m mdn NH flat (5) gd in May beating Forever My Friend (11-0) by 5l, 14 ran.
Bollistick 33-1 (11-3) Held up in touch in rear, headway 8f out, chased winner final 2f, no impression, 2nd of 5, 6l behind Mike Towey (11-3) at Hereford 2m 1f NH flat (6) gf in Apr.
Cowbridge (IRE) Pilsudski gelding out of Clyde Goddess.
Declan Og (IRE) 25-1 (11-4) Held up in rear, effort 6f out, soon ridden, weakened 4f out, tailed off, 6th of 10, well behind Themilanhorse (10-11) at Newton Abbot 2m 1f cond NH flat (6) gs in Mar.
Emmas Lad 66-1 (10-6) Held up, headway and hung left 3f out, weakened 2f out, 5th of 9, 20l behind Flame of Desire (10-6) at Uttoxeter 2m NH flat (6) gd.
Orabora 7-4 (11-7) Held up; hdwy 15; ev ch 2 out; no ex flat, 2nd of 11, 2l behind Toto Corde Meo (10-0) at Upcott Cross 3m ptp in May.
Tahrir Square (IRE) Catcher In The Rye gelding out of Sapphire Eile.
Isheforreal (IRE) 8-1 (10-13) Held up in rear, effort over 3f out, ridden over 2f out, never dangerous, 7th of 10, 23l behind Bhaltair (11-2) at Wetherby 2m NH flat (6) gd.
Teutonic Knight (IRE) 10-1 (10-12) Held up towards rear on outside, pushed along and headway 3f out, chased leaders 2f out, driven over 1f out, stayed on inside final furlong, finished well and closed on 2nd close home, no chance with easy winner, 3rd of 14, 5l behind Keys (11-5) at Lingfield 1m 5f 3yo NH flat (AWT) (5) hvy in Nov.
Western Approaches 4-6fav (10-13) Mid-division, headway over 5f out, chased leaders over 2f out, weakened final furlong, 3rd of 12, 10l behind Blase Chevalier (11-2) at Southwell 2m mares n h flat (6) gd.