With Sandown abandoned, LORD PROTECTOR now looks sure to line-up. He's worth sticking with even though he's been raised 11lb since scoring at the Esher track last month. Philip Hobbs' seven-year-old is lightly-raced and should be capable of further improvement. Maller Tree revelled in the mud at Fakenham on New Year's Day but has more to do here under a penalty. Weather Babe ran a cracker behind Highland Retreat at Kempton and is back over her winning trip but Silsol doesn't look to be one of Paul Nicholls' brighter prospects, though did win on heavy going on the Flat in France. Jumps Road, eased in class, and Ffos Las winner Society Shares aren't without a chance in a tight handicap.
Jumps Road 100-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders, staying on and trying to press for 2nd when hampered approaching last, soon switched left and unable to quicken, stayed on same pace, 3rd of 7, 12l behind The New One (11-8) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hdl G2 (1) gd in Dec.
Maller Tree 12-1 (11-5) Always prominent, led 7th, drew clear after 3 out, ran on well, eased near finish, won at Fakenham 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft beating Brass Monkey (10-0) by 22l, 8 ran.
Union Saint (FR) 20-1 (11-12) Held up behind on otuside, struggling 4 out, soon weakened, pulled up before next, in a race won by Society Shares (10-8) at Ffos Las 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) hvy in Dec, 9 ran.
Silsol (GER) 11-10fav (10-9) Jumped right 1st, held up in touch, not fluent 4th, hampered and dropped to last 6th, headway on outside next, close up and ridden 3 out, left chasing winner next, stayed on same pace, no impression flat, 2nd of 7, 3l behind Algernon Pazham (10-9) at Leicester 2m 4f 4yo nov stks (4) gs in Dec.
Weather Babe 12-1 (10-12) Soon settled in 3rd tracking clear leading pair, pushed along approaching 8th, lost 3rd 4 out, went 3rd again next, closed and disputing 2nd 2 out, narrow 2nd under pressure between last 2, hit last, stayed on flat, always held, 2nd of 5, 1l behind Highland Retreat (10-12) at Kempton 3m mrs hdl (listed) (4yo+) (1) gd in Nov.
Tidal Dance (IRE) 7-2 (11-3) Led, not fluent 9th, headed approaching 3 out, no extra flat, 4th of 9, 25l behind Southfield Theatre (11-3) at Exeter 2m 7f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Mar.
Lord Protector (IRE) 5-1 (11-2) Held up towards rear, steady headway on inside from 3rd, chased leaders 3 out, went 2nd going well approaching 2 out, led between last 2, joined last, stayed on to assert flat, won at Sandown 2m nov hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gs in Dec beating Uhlan Bute (11-12) by 1l, 15 ran.
Society Shares (IRE) 16-1 (10-8) Held up in 5th, headway and in touch 4 out, went 2nd next, driven to challenge between last 2, led last, hung left and kept on flat, won at Ffos Las 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) hvy in Dec beating Quaddick Lake (11-9) by 4l, 9 ran.