There is some uncertainty surrounding this opener with both of the likely market principals entered at Exeter tomorrow as a precaution. Master Debonair is the form pick on his two victories over 2m here, the latter a Grade 2. But former pointer SPORTING JOHN has the proven stamina and he’s looked a very smart recruit in winning twice at Exeter. Torn And Frayed and Pipesmoker have both shown ability and should be winning before the season is out.
Master Debonair 3-1 (11-3) Made all, not fluent last 2, ridden and ran on, won at Ascot 2m (1) hvy in Dec beating Ribble Valley (11-0) by 8l, 4 ran.
Sporting John (IRE) 1-4fav (11-4) Always prominent, poised to challenge after 4 out, led after next, pushed clear between last 2, in no danger after, easily, won at Exeter 2m 1f (4) sft in Dec beating Buckhorn George (10-12) by 8l, 18 ran.
Pipesmoker (FR) 16-1 (10-12) Tracked leaders, lost place when ridden after 2 out, one pace before last, rallied flat, took 3rd closing stages, not reach front pair, 3rd of 8, 2 1/4l behind Chantry House (10-12) at Cheltenham 2m 1f (3) gs in Dec.
Torn And Frayed (FR) 9-2 (11-0) Close up, jumped left and led 3rd, ridden and headed last, kept on one pace, 2nd of 11, 3 1/4l behind Whatsupwithyou (11-0) at Ascot 2m 6f mdn (3) hvy in Dec.