KIRKEIGH isn't an easy ride but beat Coombe Hill by seven lengths at Wincanton in January, when subsequent Ludlow scorer Martys Mission was a well-beaten third, before edging out Gentle George at Chepstow and that's the best form on offer in this. How's My Friend is a regular here and finished ahead of Carrickmines when third over course and distance last time and makes more appeal than recent points winner Prince Massini. King Cyrus has a lengthy absence to overcome and it will be a surprise if Benedictus or Havenstone are good enough at this level.
Coombe Hill 50-1 (12-0) Prominent, hit 9th, 4th when blundered 4 out, outpaced when not fluent next, soon weakened, pulled up before last, in a race won by Salsify (12-0) at Cheltenham 3m 2f hts chs (2) sft in Mar, 23 ran.
Kirkleigh 10-11fav (11-10) In rear early, soon in touch, went 2nd from 7th, led 4 out, pressed from last, kept on gamely, pushed out, won at Chepstow 3m hts chs (6) hvy in Mar beating Gentle George (11-8) by shd, 5 ran.
Benedictus (IRE) 66-1 (12-0) Always towards rear, struggling 15th, tailed off when pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Salsify (12-0) at Cheltenham 3m 2f hts chs (2) sft in Mar, 23 ran.
How's My Friend 7-1 (11-7) Raced wide tracking leading pair in 3rd and 4th, badly outpaced 3 out, rallied and hung badly left flat, strong run to 3rd final 100 yards, 3rd of 5, 1 1/2l behind Nicto De Beauchene (12-4) at Taunton 2m 7f hts chs (6) sft in Mar.
King Cyrus (IRE) 7-2 (10-3) Prominent, hampered 2nd, ridden after 12th, no impression on winner from after 2 out, 2nd of 5, 22l behind Louis Pasteur (10-4) at Newton Abbot 2m 5f hcp hts chs (4) gd in May.
Martys Mission (IRE) 7-2 (12-0) Held up towards rear, headway 11th, went 3rd soon after 4 out, led before 3 out, ridden and headed 3 out, chased leader until ridden before next, stayed on same pace in 3rd, 3rd of 10, 26l behind Merrion Square (11-9) at Sandown 3m am chs 0-130 (3) sft in Mar.
Carrickmines (IRE) 17-2 (11-13) Tracked leading pair, went 2nd 8th (water), led after 9th, 10 lengths ahead after 14th, reduced lead before joined 4 out, headed approaching 3 out, soon beaten, 3rd of 4, 32l behind Robin Will (12-2) at Exeter 3m hts chs (6) sft in Mar.
Havenstone (IRE) 9-2 (11-0) Bhnd til hdwy 13; chsd wnr 15; no imp flat, 2nd of 7, 3/4l behind Miss Midnight (10-7) at Quantock Staghounds 3m ptp sft in Mar.
Prince Massini (IRE) 2-7 (11-0) Led to 4; led 6; clr 11; unchall, won at North Hereford 3m ptp gs in Mar beating Kirbybroguelantern (11-0) by well, 2 ran.