Several here are making their handicap debut, including our selection FIENDISH FLAME who's chasing a hat-trick, but also on the shortlist are Snake Hips and another treble seeker, Noticeable. Donald McCain won this race last year, and his top-weighted runner here can follow that up for him today. He won here last time out, again when carrying more than his rivals when the going was much softer, and proved again that front-runners can do well here. Another bold display is expected, and having only run four times previously, there should be more to come from him. Snake Hips is Evan Williams' only interest on the card, but remains nought from 44. He's started showing some ability though since switching yards. Alan King's string are in fine form, and Noticeable has contributed to that, winning his last two outings, a seller and a claimer at Doncaster. This represents a jump up in class, but it's a gap he looks capable of bridging. Venetia Williams' Hohlethelonely has almost a stone in hand from Fiendish Flame, and will probably need every ounce of that, but the McCain runner is our selection.
Fiendish Flame (IRE) 5-4fav (11-11) Raced keenly, led and jumped left 1st, not fluent 3rd, ridden and headed approaching 2 out, 4 lengths down last, stayed on to regain lead 100 yards out, driven out, won at Uttoxeter 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) hvy in Feb beating A French Hors.
Diamond Frontier (IRE) 11-2 (11-2) Tracked leader, led 3rd, headed 4 out, soon weakened, 9th of 11, well behind Harmony Brig (11-0) at Ayr 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) sft in Jan.
Noticeable (IRE) 5-4fav (11-12) Held up, smooth headway approaching 3 out, led approaching 2 out, shaken up to go clear after last, won at Doncaster 2m clm hdl (5) gd in Feb beating Sparkling Montjeu (10-2) by 9l, 8 ran.
Hohlethelonely 10-3fav (10-9) Held up towards rear, headway after 3 out, soon ridden, staying on same pace when hit last, 3rd of 13, 5l behind King Brex (11-2) at Kempton 2m nov hdl (4) gd in Feb.
Baltic Pathfinder (IRE) 11-2 (11-2) Led, hit 5th, headed approaching 3 out, blundered and unseated rider unseated rider 3 out in race won by Merrydown (11-8) at Newcastle 2m 4f nov hdl (4) gs, 14 ran.
Kadouchski (FR) 20-1 (11-7) Mid-division, weakening when mistake 2 out, 8th of 16, 18l behind Silk Affair (10-8) at Sandown 2m 4f nov hcp hdl (3) sft in Feb.
Fredo (IRE) 6-1 (10-13) Mid-division, headway after 4 out, led and blundered 3 out, soon headed and not recover, 6th of 12, 20l behind Red Admiral (11-8) at Ludlow 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft in Jan.
Snake Hips 6-1 (11-9) In touch, ridden and every chance 4 out, one pace from last, 3rd of 10, 5l behind Mae Cigan (11-9) at Chepstow 2m nov hcp hdl 0-110 (4) sft in Feb.
Arctic Ben (IRE) 4-1 (11-6) Tracked leaders, hampered on bend approaching 8th, effort 3 out, weakened next, 5th of 13, 20l behind King Ar Aghaidh (11-6) at Fakenham 2m 4f mdn hdl (4) gs in Jan.
Je Ne Sais Plus (FR) 5-1 (10-10) Towards rear, headway after 3out, ridden 2out, weakened last, 6th of 18, 33l behind Calusa Crystal (10-10) at Wincanton 2m mrs nov hdl (4) gs in Dec.