Scooby has only won one of his 15 starts but he looked to be running into form when third off this mark at Southwell and holds Minella Gathering on the form book. PENNYWELL has shown her best form so far on heavy going but conditions here will be testing and she’s only gone up 5lb for winning at Uttoxeter. Mamoo steps up in trip after scoring over 2m4f here at the start of the month but Shinooki was third over course and distance before a narrow defeat over fences at Hereford and goes on the short-list.
Scooby (IRE) 5-1fav (11-12) Mid-division, headway 4 out, chased leaders next, weakened last, 3rd of 14, 3 1/2l behind Hoke Colburn (11-10) at Southwell 2m 4f hcp (4) gd in Nov.
Shinooki (IRE) 8-1 (11-9) Led narrowly to 7th, with leader, driven after 4 out, outpaced by front pair next, went 2nd again between last 2, rallied when switched inside approaching last, every chance flat, kept on, held near finish, 2nd of 8, 1/2l behind High Counsel (10-7) at Hereford 3m 1f hcp (4) gd in Nov.
Sam Noir 12-1 (11-5) Held up towards rear on outside, jumped right 6th, pushed along briefly before next, closed 8th, losing place 3 out, mistake next, last of 8, dist behind Pop Rockstar (11-6) at Haydock 2m 7f hcp (4) hvy in Dec.
Mamoo 11-2 (11-11) Made all, hit 4 out, ridden and kept on gamely, won at Fakenham 2m 4f hcp (4) sft in Dec beating Astrum (11-9) by 1 1/4l, 5 ran.
Pennywell (IRE) 3-1 (11-0) In touch, went 2nd from 6th until next, chased leader from 4 out, pressed leader from 2 out, ridden and switched left before last, kept on and led towards finish, won at Uttoxeter 2m 7f hcp (4) hvy in Nov beating Marienstar (11-12) by 1 3/4l, 5 ran.
The Last Bar 33-1 (11-5) Took keen hold in rear, some headway on wide outside 2 out, never troubled leaders, 5th of 10, 14 3/4l behind Midnight Gypsy (10-3) at Taunton 2m 3f hcp (4) gd in Nov.
Minella Gathering (IRE) 4-1fav (11-0) Held up and behind, steady headway 7th, chased leaders next, 2nd 2 out, ridden and edged right approaching last, led narrowly run-in, headed and no extra towards finish, 2nd of 11, 3/4l behind Gonnabegood (10-8) at Exeter 2m 6f hcp (5) sft in Nov.
Blackwell Synergy (FR) 25-1 (10-3) Tracked leader until ridden 3 out, outpaced next, rallied flat, 4th of 5, 15 1/4l behind Saucysioux (12-0) at Fakenham 2m 7f hcp (5) sft in Dec.