This has attracted a huge field and it looks as competitive as first appears. Coillte Eile won over course and distance in November but has disappointed twice since and her yard is going through a quiet spell. Conditions are a slight concern for Maypole Class but he probably has the best form on offer and Jonjo O’Neill’s stable is back among the winners. Be My Sea is still on a winning mark, despite winning at Fakenham last month, while St Barts remains unexposed and is likely to be suited by this longer trip. Veterans Taj Badalandabad and Tambura are still capable in this grade and the likes of Frisson Collonges, Easyrun De Vassy and Vaziani are worth considering but NORMANDY SOLDIER is still on an upward curve despite finding one too good at Taunton. He holds Thegallantway on that run and can recoup losses here.
Maypole Class (IRE) 9-2 (11-1) Held up in mid-division, not fluent 3rd, headway 9th, went 2nd before jumping left 2 out, led approaching last, hit hurdle and headed, held flat, 2nd of 11, 3/4l behind Sir Ivan (11-12) at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp (3) sft in Jan.
Thegallantway (IRE) 11-1 (11-8) Held up, progress 7th, pushed along after 3 out, soon slightly outpaced, rallied and switched right before last, ridden and kept on one pace flat, 4th of 7, 4l behind Falco Blitz (11-8) at Ascot 2m 6f (3) hvy in Jan.
Normandy Soldier 9-4fav (11-1) Chased leaders, led narrowly 3 out, ridden between last 2, headed and not pace of winner run-in, 2nd of 8, 1l behind Kansas City Chief (10-13) at Taunton 3m hcp (3) sft in Dec.
Vaziani (FR) 4-1 (11-3) Chased leaders, hit 4 out, went 2nd before 2 out, ridden to challenge and led when mistake last, driven and stayed on well run-in, won at Plumpton 3m 1f hcp (3) hvy in Jan beating Hideaway Vic (11-7) by 2 1/2l, 5 ran.
Silent Assistant (IRE) 8-1 (11-6) Held up in rear, not fluent 3rd, headway approaching 3 out, went 4th flat, never dangerous, 4th of 15, 24 1/2l behind Kalooki (11-6) at Ludlow 2m 5f mdn (4) sft in Jan.
Who Shot Jr (IRE) 25-1 (11-11) Held up just off the pace in 5th, outpaced after 5th, soon behind, 7th of 10, 32 1/4l behind Le Ligerien (11-12) at Newbury 2m hcp (4) hvy in Jan.
St Barts (IRE) 9-2 (11-8) Prominent until 5th, chased leaders, pushed along 3 out, outpaced before 2 out, went 3rd last, plugged on, 3rd of 7, 5 1/2l behind Hurricane Harvey (11-8) at Wincanton 2m 5f (4) sft in Jan.
Los Alamos (IRE) 66-1 (11-0) Chased leaders, lost place 4th, weakened after 4 out, tailed off, 7th of 8, dist behind Boss Man Fred (11-2) at Doncaster 3m hcp (3) gs in Dec.
Coillte Eile (IRE) 14-1 (11-5) Mid-division, headway after 4 out, mistake and no extra 2 out, not fluent last, 8th of 13, 29l behind Legends Gold (12-0) at Ludlow 3m hcp (3) sft in Jan.
Frisson Collonges (FR) 3-1 (10-12) Chased leaders, led after 2 out, sent 5 lengths clear before last, headed post, 2nd of 10, shd behind Steal A March (10-12) at Hereford 2m 6f (4) hvy in Dec.
Endless Flight (IRE) 11-2 (10-13) Towards rear, good headway on wide outside chasing leaders bypassing 4th, 2nd on long run before 3 out, led before 3 out, went clear next, kept on strongly (hurdles in back straight omitted, only 6 jumped), won at Exeter 2m 3f hcp (4) hvy in Jan beating Flagrant Delitiep (11-6) by 9 1/2l, 11 ran.
Easyrun De Vassy (FR) 7-2 (11-10) Chased leaders, went 2nd after 7th until not much room on rail when stumbled badly on bend before 2 out, no chance to recover, 4th of 9, 20 3/4l behind Flowing Cadenza (10-10) at Ascot 3m hcp (4) hvy in Dec.
Jully Les Buxy 13-2 (11-6) Raced widest, always in rear, tailed off and eased before 2 out, 8th of 9, dist behind Mister Murchan (10-5) at Plumpton 3m 1f hcp (4) sft in Jan.
Talktomenow 9-1 (11-1) Tracked leaders, driven to chase front pair after 3 out, soon ridden, lost place turning in, mistake 2 out, plugged on into remote 3rd approaching last, 3rd of 5, 26 3/4l behind Teescomponents Lad (11-12) at Catterick 3m 1f hcp (3) sft in Jan.
Be My Sea (IRE) 9-2 (11-10) Close up, ridden and chased leader 2 out, led approaching last, stayed on, won at Fakenham 2m 7f hcp (4) gs in Jan beating McCrackens Gate (10-12) by 3/4l, 8 ran.
Orchard Thieves (IRE) 9-2 (11-4) Prominent, pushed along before 3 out, weakened before 2 out, 8th of 15, 30 3/4l behind Russian Hawk (10-12) at Exeter 2m 6f (4) gs in Nov.
Tambura 4-1 (11-10) Raced wide, held up, headway to lead before 3rd, headed before 2 out, chased winner, awkward 2 out, one pace, no chance with winner, 2nd of 9, 3l behind Mister Murchan (10-5) at Plumpton 3m 1f hcp (4) sft in Jan.
Taj Badalandabad (IRE) 8-1 (11-0) 2nd or 3rd behind clear leader, closed before 5th, hampered 2 out, soon weakened, 12th of 14, 26 3/4l behind Phoenix Way (11-4) at Huntingdon 3m 1f hcp (2) sft in Jan.