On reflection, the 3m2f of the Mandarin at Newbury last time may have been a shade too far for DENALI HIGHWAY. Caroline Bailey's gelding won twice over this trip last season and has improved since so there's no reason why he won't go close again. The others arrive in indifferent form with Frontier Spirit, Benny's Mist and Falcon Island particularly disappointing so far this term. Forest Walker did win at Uttoxeter, when favourite Marie Des Anges was pulled up, in November but has been well beaten in two starts since. Paddy The Stout probably needs to have his sights lowered but Mic's Delight has dropped to a fair mark judged on his second at Taunton, however, and could be a danger.
Frontier Spirit (IRE) 16-1 (11-4) Mid-division, ridden 7th, weakened after 11th, pulled up before 5 out, in a race won by Renard (11-7) at Chepstow 2m 3f hcp chs (2) hvy in Dec, 11 ran.
Denali Highway (IRE) 4-1 (11-11) Tracked leaders, left 3rd at 6th, went 2nd 13th, pushed along before 4 out, ridden and lost 2nd 2 out, kept on same pace and no impression in 3rd, 3rd of 7, 10l behind Financial Climate (10-9) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Dec.
Bennys Mist (IRE) 20-1 (10-1) In touch, closed 8th, mistake 12th, hit 14th (foinavon), lost place 16th, (valentines), well beaten when mistake last, 11th of 22, 25l behind Chance Du Roy (10-6) at Aintree 3m 2f hcp chs G3 (1) sft in Dec.
Forest Walker (IRE) 9-2 (11-0) Held up in touch, headway 11th, mistake next, went 2nd 4 out, driven and lost 2nd before 2 out, weakened 2 out, 6th of 9, 23l behind Ma Filleule (11-9) at Kempton 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Dec.
Falcon Island 5-1 (11-12) Chased leaders, outpaced 4 out, 4th of 5, 17l behind Lord Of House (11-4) at Wincanton 2m hcp chs 0-130 (3) hvy in Dec.
Mic's Delight (IRE) 9-1 (11-2) Chased leaders, went 2nd 11th, challenged and every chance when stumbled 2 out, soon held, 2nd of 6, 7l behind Theatrical Star (11-12) at Taunton 2m 7f hcp chs 0-130 (3) hvy in Dec.
Marie Des Anges (FR) 11-4fav (11-7) Took keen hold and held up in last pair, good headway to track leaders approaching 8th, led narrowly next until approaching 4 out, weakened quickly before next and pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Forest Walker (11-12) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Nov, 7 ran.
Paddy The Stout (IRE) 7-1 (10-9) Held up in rear, struggling from halfway, 3rd of 5, 15l behind Lord Of House (11-4) at Wincanton 2m hcp chs 0-130 (3) hvy in Dec.