raced keenly in mid-division, headway chasing leaders 7th, went 2nd 4 out, pushed along before next, held when went left 2 out, went left and lost 2nd at the last, lost modest 3rd final strides
The going will not be as testing as 12 months ago when Clan Des Obeaux came right away from Cyrname. The two-times winner of this disappointed on a similar surface in the Gold Cup in March when behind a few of these but was successful here in 2018 on good to soft. Cyrname still doesn’t convince as a three-miler, despite his win in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby, while Lostintranslation has a bit to prove after a poor reappearance in the Betfair Chase at Haydock. Frodon should be suited by 3m around here and the Nicholls’ quartet is completed by Real Steel, who is no forlorn hope, as the trainer bids for a 12th success in this mid-season championship but this race could be run to suit the enigmatic SANTINI. The Aintree runner-up will have something to aim at up the home straight and has been supplemented at considerable cost. Stamina might be an issue for the returning Saint Calvados and Waiting Patiently while Black Op simply doesn’t look good enough.
Black Op (IRE) 10-1 (11-0) Chased leaders, slightly hampered 5 out, ridden before next, weakened after 3 out, 9th of 18, 29 1/2l behind Cloth Cap (10-0) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp (1) gd in Nov.
Clan Des Obeaux (FR) 9-4 (11-7) Tracked leaders in 3rd, went 2nd and chased leader after 13th, pressed leader 3 out, travelling smoothly and every chance 2 out, ridden and weakened approaching last, no extra close home, 2nd of 5, 2l behind Bristol De Mai (11-7) at Haydock 3m 2f (1) hvy in Nov.
Cyrname (FR) 3-1 (11-6) Held up in touch, close up 3rd, upsides 6th, restrained behind leader 8th, took closer order 5 out, upsides 4 out, led narrowly travelling well 3 out, pushed into lead before last, pushed out flat, won at Wetherby 3m (1) sft in Oct beating Vinndication (11-4) by 2l, 10 ran.
Frodon (FR) 9-4 (11-6) Led until fiddled 3rd and headed, chased leader until bypassing omitted 3 out, weakened soon after, 4th of 5, dist behind Lake View Lad (11-0) at Aintree 3m 1f (1) sft in Dec.
Lostintranslation (IRE) 7-4fav (11-7) Towards rear in 4th, not fluent 6th, nodded on landing when edging closer 5 out, shoved along before 4 out, struggling and held from 3 out, 3rd of 5, dist behind Bristol De Mai (11-7) at Haydock 3m 2f (1) hvy in Nov.
Real Steel (FR) 3-1 (11-7) Chased leaders, went 2nd 10th, hit 3 out, soon ridden, no impression on winner before last, lost 2nd flat, 3rd of 4, 7 1/2l behind Imperial Aura (11-5) at Ascot 2m 5f (1) sft in Nov.
Saint Calvados (FR) 16-1 (11-10) Held up in touch in last trio, tracked leaders on inside 3 out, ridden to challenge between last 2, hit and lost ground last, rallied towards finish, just held, 2nd of 8, nk behind Min (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m 5f (1) sft in Mar.
Santini 13-8fav (11-6) Ran in snatches, tracked leaders, pushed along going out on last circuit, driven along in 3rd after 2 out (normal 5 out), went 2nd before bypassing omitted last, soon every chance until no extra final 110 yards, 2nd of 5, 1l behind Lake View Lad (11-0) at Aintree 3m 1f (1) sft in Dec.
Waiting Patiently (IRE) 11-1 (11-7) Held up in touch, headway after 4 out, went 3rd next, one pace between last 2, ridden and rallied closing stages, finished well, not quite reach front pair, 3rd of 8, 1l behind Defi Du Seuil (11-7) at Sandown 2m (1) sft in Dec.