Down in grade PLUSH looks a strong contender in this claimer and has the verdict over Ilie Nastase and the on-form New Star.Given every chance by the framing of this race the pick was a four-time winner in handicaps last winter and returned in the same vein in December. Granted he's been beaten since but his form should be strong enough in the context of this race.Ilie Nastase is the highest rated in the field and is weighted for a dead heat with the selection. He doesn't always find as much as expected at the business end but having followed a win in this company with another solid effort at Kempton last time he's held in utmost respect here.New Star likes it here and has looked mildly progressive since returning from an absence so should be considered while Sand Tiger makes his UK debut having formally been trained in France by Andre Fabre and any market support for him would be interesting.Head First is another to consider after his win in a moderate handicap last time but the from of Plush looks the strongest and on these terms he has a solid chance.
Sand Tiger (IRE) 11-2 (9-2) last of 8, 7l behind Silver Frost (9-2) at Longchamp(FR) 1m 3yo Grp 3 gs in Apr.
Ilie Nastase (FR) 2-1fav (9-4) Led, ridden 2f out, headed just inside final furlong, kept on, 3rd of 7, 1 1/4l behind Thunderball (8-11) at Lingfield 1m hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Jan.
Xpres Maite 4-1 (9-1) Narrow lead to over 3f out, chased winner to well over 2f out, weakened over 1f out, 4th of 7, 12l behind Harlech Castle (9-3) at Southwell 6f hcp 0-85 (4) fbs in Jan.
Lastroarofdtiger (USA) 33-1 (8-11) Tracked leaders, ridden and weakened over 1f out, last of 8, 8l behind Autumn Blades (9-4) at Lingfield 7f hcp 0-80 (4) in Dec.
Plush 5-1 (8-7) Slowly into stride, in rear, kept on final furlong, 4th of 11, 2 1/4l behind Winter Fever (9-1) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp (0-90) (3) pol in Jan.
Hilbre Court (USA) 16-1 (8-12) Tracked leaders, under pressure over 3f out, stayed on same pace, 6th of 11, 7l behind Ours (8-12) at Southwell 1m hcp 0-80 (4) fbs in Jan.
Ten Pole Tudor 33-1 (8-11) Led, headed 3f out, ridden and weakened over 1f out, 4th of 10, 7l behind General Tufto (9-0) at Southwell 1m hcp 0-65 (6) fbs in Jan.
New Star (UAE) 7-2fav (9-5) Close up, ridden to lead narrowly 2f out, headed and kept on one pace 1f out, 3rd of 10, 2 1/4l behind Hannicean (8-9) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Jan.
Remark (IRE) 5-1 (9-9) In touch, ridden and outpaced 3f out, 8th of 14, 8l behind Prince Golan (10-6) at Southwell 1m am hcp 0-60 (6) fbs in Nov.
Head First 3-1 (8-13) Towards rear, headway approaching 2f out, ridden to lead just inside final furlong, ran on, won at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp (0-55) (6) pol in Jan beating Great Bounder (9-0) by 2l, 10 ran.