Wild West Wind endured a torrid 2018 but ran better at Warwick on last month’s reappearance having undergone wind surgery. But the veteran CULTRAM ABBEY was having his first outing since May when landing last year’s renewal and is following a similar path this time. Nicky Richards’ charge has won over these fences subsequently and should be bang there at the finish once again though stablemate Chidswell continues to struggle. Vaniteux won at Cheltenham in October and faced a stiff task in a valuable handicap at Ascot last time while Bernardelli is on the same mark as when last successful and should improve for last month’s pipe-opener here. Claud And Goldie also has a shout if at his best on his reappearance.
Wild West Wind (IRE) 11-2 (11-8) Chased leaders, went 2nd 5th, led after 11th, headed last, weakened flat, 4th of 6, 15 1/4l behind King's Odyssey (11-12) at Warwick 3m hcp (2) sft in Nov.
Cultram Abbey 9-2 (11-12) In touch, mistake 6th, driven and lost place after 3 out, outpaced when left 4th next, soon ridden, stayed on to take 3rd towards finish, no impression, 3rd of 6, 12l behind Beau Sancy (10-6) at Kelso 2m 7f hcp (3) gd in May.
Chidswell (IRE) 16-1 (11-4) Towards rear, struggling in rear when mistake 14th, tailed off and pulled up before 2 out, at Perth 3m hcp (2) gs in Jun.
Vaniteux (FR) 12-1 (10-2) Held up towards rear, headway 5 out, weakened after 3 out, 9th of 10, dist behind Capeland (10-13) at Ascot 2m 1f hcp (2) sft in Nov.
Claud And Goldie (IRE) 14-1 (10-13) Mistake 1st, soon prominent, led 3rd to 7th, left in lead again 10th, joined 4 out, headed next, blundered 2 out, soon no chance with winner, lost 2nd and weakened between last 2, 3rd of 9, 9 3/4l behind Molly The Dolly (11-9) at Ayr 3m hcp (2) gd in Apr.
Bernardelli (IRE) 17-2 (11-9) Pressed winner to 7th, in touch, lost place before 5 out, behind next, plugged on into modest 3rd between last 2, 3rd of 10, 16l behind Well Above Par (10-9) at Kelso 2m 6f hcp (3) hvy in Nov.
Gold Opera (IRE) 25-1 (11-4) Held up in touch, blundered and unseated rider 2nd, at Haydock 3m 4f hcp (3) gs in Nov.
Indian Temple (IRE) 40-1 (11-9) Prominent until 4th, chased leaders, lost place from 9th, well beaten 4 out, 8th of 10, dist behind Riders Onthe Storm (11-5) at Aintree 2m 4f hcp (2) sft in Nov.