This is usually won by a decent novice and MR MOLE fits the bill this year. He was always going well when making a winning debut over hurdles at Exeter and the second there, Melodic Rendezvous, is held in high regard. Kings Lad was second over C&D in May before falling when odds-on at Newton Abbot. He should make the frame again with a clear round while Jojabean was third on his hurdles bow at Fontwell and should be stronger with another summer on his back. The others have a bit to prove though it looks like Old Pals Act is Jonjo O'Neill's first choice ahead of newcomer Bold Raider.
Mr Mole (IRE) 6-4 (10-12) Mistake 1st, tracked leaders, challenged going well on outside 3 out, led on bit between last 2, went left last, pushed out flat, readily, won at Exeter 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Oct beating Melodic Rendezvous (10-12) by 1 1/2l, 14 ran.
Bold Raider (IRE) Presenting gelding out of Dato Fairy.
Classic Case (IRE) 40-1 (11-0) Held up in 5th, not fluent 1st, outpaced last (usual 4 out), no chance with leaders on long flat, 6th of 7, well behind Gevrey Chambertin (11-0) at Aintree 2m mdn hdl (4) gd in Oct.
Generous John 66-1 (10-7) Held up towards rear, took keen hold, well beaten final 4f, 11th of 12, 44l behind Empiracle (11-0) at Huntingdon 2m NH flat (6) gd in Oct.
Go Limpopo 12-1 (11-0) Mid-division, weakened from 8th, 8th of 10, well behind Provo (11-0) at Wincanton 2m 6f mdn hdl (4) gs in Oct.
Jojabean (IRE) 12-1 (11-0) Held up, headway approaching 4th, ridden when not fluent 2 out, one pace last, 3rd of 8, 11l behind Pippa Greene (11-0) at Fontwell 2m 2f mdn hdl (4) gs in May.
Kap Gun (FR) Kapgarde gelding out of Aubisquinette.
Kings Lad (IRE) 4-6fav (10-12) Took keen hold, close up, went 2nd after 6th, challenged and blundered 3 out, slight before next, narrowly headed but every chance when fell last, in a race won by Wiffy Chatsby (10-12) at Newton Abbot 2m 3f nov hdl (4) gf in May, 9 ran.
Old Pals Act (IRE) 11-4fav (11-2) Held up towards rear, headway 8f out, weakened over 4f out, 8th of 11, 31l behind Pure Style (10-11) at Stratford 2m NH flat (6) gs in Sep.
Pinkneys Prince 10-1 (10-12) Held up in rear, not fluent 4th, headway 3 out, no extra last, 4th of 10, 15l behind Gallox Bridge (10-12) at Uttoxeter 2m NH nov hdl 4-6yo (4) gf in Oct '11.
Presenting Arms (IRE) 28-1 (10-12) Took keen hold towards rear, headway to chase leaders 3 out, outpaced 2 out, plugged on flat, 5th of 13, 11l behind Kings Flagship (10-12) at Wincanton 2m nov hdl (4) gs in Oct.
Whispering Bob (IRE) 10-1 (11-2) Mid-division on outside, headway over 7f out, weakened 1f out, 4th of 9, 17l behind Wintered Well (10-12) at Market Rasen 2m 1f NH flat (5) gd in May.
Zava River (IRE) 40-1 (10-12) Close up in 5th, pushed along before 2 out, weakened between last 2, 8th of 13, 17l behind Kings Flagship (10-12) at Wincanton 2m nov hdl (4) gs in Oct.
Uimhir A Seacht (IRE) 50-1 (10-0) Chased winner until after 3 out, chased leaders until weakened before next, 11th of 13, 22l behind Kings Flagship (10-12) at Wincanton 2m nov hdl (4) gs in Oct.