Donald McCain has an interesting new recruit in Black Key, a dual winner over hurdles in Ireland for Henry De Bromhead while Cause Toujours has shown good progress over timber this year though was well beaten on a previous attempt in this grade at Market Rasen. But GRAND SANCY fared much better when runner-up in Listed company at Kempton last month having won either side of that and it’s Paul Nicholls’ charge that gets the nod to come out best. Denmead made a winning start over hurdles but failed to land the odds at Wetherby last time when refusing to settle while Colin Tizzard could have found an easier opportunity for point-to-point recruit Lough Derg Diamond and he’s worth a second glance.
Black Key 10-1 (11-8) Tracked leader in 2nd, led 3 out, ridden clear from next, stayed on well run-in, comfortably, won at Galway 2m 5f hcp Yielding - Soft in Aug beating Mill Quest (11-5) by 7l, 20 ran.
Cause Toujours (FR) 6-4fav (12-1) Tracked leaders, headway travelling well enough before 2 out, went 2nd soon after 2 out, kept on same pace run-in, no chance with winner, 2nd of 6, 5l behind Maire Banrigh (11-0) at Carlisle 2m 1f hcp (3) gd in Oct.
Denmead 4-11fav (11-4) Keen tracking leaders on inside, went 2nd 2 out, every chance when hit last, weakened run-in, 3rd of 8, 3 3/4l behind Skidoosh (10-12) at Wetherby 2m 4f (4) gd in Nov.
Grand Sancy (FR) 4-6fav (11-8) Mostly tracked leader, challenged 2 out, led before last, shaken up and kept on well run-in, won at Wincanton 1m 7f (3) gd in Nov beating Shiroccan Roll (11-4) by 1 3/4l, 7 ran.
Lough Derg Diamond (IRE) 10-1 (12-2) Mid-div, 5th 1/2way, mod 5th aftr 4out, rdn 3out & went poor 4th early str, no dngr from 2out, 3rd of 10, 26l behind The Con Man (12-2) at Monksgrange 3m mdn hvy in Apr.