Bernardelli won on this card 12 months ago and is 5lb lower. However, he’s better over shorter and this season’s efforts have left something to be desired so Nicky Richards may have a better chance with Chidswell, who was second on his reappearance at Newcastle. LOUGH DERG JEWEL has jumped well in two wins over fences at Ayr and looks like making a better chaser than hurdler, even though he did win over the smaller obstacles here last season. A hat-trick may be on the cards as a step up in distance shouldn’t pose too many problems. Call Me Vic has won three times over fences and is a force to be reckoned with in this grade. He’s slipping slowly down the handicap so makes more appeal than Silver Tassie and Bright Prospect.
Call Me Vic (IRE) 9-2 (11-12) Led, hampered by loose horse 7 out, headed 3 out, outpaced before 2 out, kept on same pace, 4th of 6, 7 3/4l behind Markov (11-1) at Doncaster 2m 3f hcp (3) gd in Dec.
Silver Tassie (IRE) 8-1 (11-12) Held up last, outpaced when hit 13th, no chance after, 5th of 6, 9 3/4l behind Catamaran Du Seuil (11-5) at Ayr 3m hcp (3) hvy in Nov.
Chidswell (IRE) 4-1 (11-10) Chased leaders, ridden to challenge 3 out, kept on well after last, 2nd of 8, 7l behind Saints And Sinners (11-6) at Newcastle 2m 4f hcp (3) sft in Dec.
Lough Derg Jewel (IRE) Evensfav (11-3) Made all, ridden before 2 out, clear before last, won at Ayr 2m 4f hcp (3) hvy in Dec beating Progress Drive (11-8) by 3 1/4l, 4 ran.
Bernardelli (IRE) 13-2 (11-10) Tracked leaders, pushed along 6 out, ridden and dropped to rear 3 out, soon beaten, last of 4, 15 1/2l behind Forest Des Aigles (11-3) at Bangor 3m hcp (3) hvy in Dec.
Gold Opera (IRE) 16-1 (11-5) Chased leaders, not much room 1st, lost place 9th, behind when pulled up before 18th, at Haydock 3m 3f hcp (2) hvy in Dec.
Ueueteotl (FR) 9-1 (11-7) Led, not fluent 3rd or 6th, headed before 2 out, weakened, 7th of 10, 24 1/2l behind Chapel Stile (10-11) at Doncaster 3m hcp (4) gs in Dec.
Bright Prospect (IRE) 2-1 (11-12) In touch on inside, left tracking winner from 5th, driven 4 out, ridden and well held before 2 out, kept on when pressed for modest 2nd from last, 2nd of 5, 8l behind Blue Kascade (11-7) at Musselburgh 3m hcp (4) gd in Nov.