Umberto D'olivate scored over 2m4f on heavy ground at Chepstow but ran poorly after a 7lb rise in the weights here last month. The Sneezer has won six races though not for around two years which is why he's dropped to a lowly mark. Milarrow landed a beginners' chase here though that was almost two years ago and the fences keep getting in the way. Royal Riviera has been slowly dropping in the weights after completing a double in summer 2012 while Ray Diamond, who won over hurdles here in October, ran well back over fences on this track last time. KINGCORA showed nothing over hurdles after arriving from France but made a reasonable debut over fences at Ludlow and might just improve enough to take this tight handicap.
Umberto D'olivate (FR) 11-2 (11-9) Chased leader until 9th, chased leaders, ridden before 4 out, weakened soon after, tailed off, 5th of 11, 26l behind Ballinvarrig (11-9) at Exeter 2m 3f hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Dec.
Ballincurrig (IRE) 8-1 (10-2) Blundered badly and rider lost iron briefly 1st, held up last, went left and not fluent 7th, headway on outside before 3 out, disputing well held 3rd next until last, weakened flat, 6th of 9, 23l behind The Italian Yob (11-5) at Sandown 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Dec.
The Sneezer (IRE) 25-1 (11-0) Prominent, led 3rd, headed approaching 3 out, one pace and no impression from next, 3rd of 7, 11l behind George Nympton (11-11) at Uttoxeter 2m hcp chs 0-115 (4) hvy in Dec.
Milarrow (IRE) 12-1 (10-6) Not fluent in rear, reminders after 9th, fell 18th, in a race won by Fine Parchment (11-7) at Sandown 3m (3) gd in Dec, 8 ran.
Kingcora (FR) 12-1 (10-5) With leader, led or disputed lead from 4th, narrow advantage when headed 5 out, driven before next, kept on same pace, no impression flat, 5th of 7, 13l behind Cloudy Joker (10-8) at Ludlow 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) gs in Dec.
Swincombe Stone 11-1 (11-10) Tracked leader, effort 2 out, soon weakened, 5th of 8, 28l behind Agincourt Reef (11-12) at Fontwell 2m 2f hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gs in Dec.
Royal Riviera 3-1fav (11-7) Tracked leaders, effort 3 out (usual 4 out), ridden and outpaced before 2 out, no impression last, 4th of 7, 8l behind Cruising Bye (10-8) at Ffos Las 2m 5f nov hcp chs 0-110 (4) hvy in Dec.
Ray Diamond 9-2fav (10-0) Led until narrowly headed 10th, stayed pressing leader, led again approaching 4 out, battled on gamely, not fluent last, no extra and headed final 50 yards, 2nd of 11, 1 1/2l behind Ballinvarrig (11-9) at Exeter 2m 3f hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Dec.
Humbel Ben (IRE) 66-1 (10-7) Last pair, pushed along and struggling in rear before 8th, tailed off and pulled up before 10th, in a race won by Ballinvarrig (11-9) at Exeter 2m 3f hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Dec, 11 ran.