Diocletian was rated 99 when last running on the Flat. He took a while to get the hang of jumping hurdles but he easily landed a maiden at Fakenham just before Christmas and there should be even more to come if he settles better. But ECCO has the form in the book having won at Doncaster before a second over this course and distance on Boxing Day. He proved his well-being with a win in a jumper’s bumper on the Polytrack here earlier this month and looks the one to be on. Golan Fortune has been running well in top company over fences and Gunsight Ridge can also figure having found only one too good on his handicap debut at Doncaster. Major Dundee has been knocking on the door in novice events so can’t be ignored.
Golan Fortune (IRE) 5-1 (11-0) Made most until mistake 3 out, soon switched right, rallied 2 out, 3rd and held last, no extra flat, last of 3, 6 1/2l behind Next Destination (11-5) at Warwick 3m (1) sft in Jan.
Ecco 5-2fav (11-4) Tracked leaders, travelling well over 2f out, close 2nd 2f out, ridden to challenge final furlong, stayed on to lead final 100 yards, won at Kempton 2m 2f (4) pol in Feb beating Commanche Red (11-4) by 1/2l, 10 ran.
Encore Champs (IRE) 16-1 (11-5) Held up mid-division, ridden before 3 out, soon weakened and pulled up, at Kempton 2m 4f hcp (2) gs in Mar.
Hometown Boy (IRE) 14-1 (11-7) Held up towards rear, effort before 2 out, never a factor, 7th of 18, 14 1/2l behind Mcfabulous (11-9) at Kempton 2m 5f hcp (1) gs in Mar.
Tedham 11-4fav (11-4) Mistakes, chased leaders, weakened before 2 out, went 4th after last, 4th of 9, 24 3/4l behind Jacamar (11-1) at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp (2) sft in Dec.
White Moon (GER) 33-1 (11-6) Mid-division, headway approaching 6th, pecked 8th, weakened before 2 out, 8th of 9, dist behind Jacamar (11-1) at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp (2) sft in Dec.
Diocletian (IRE) 10-3 (11-0) Raced wide keen in touch, tracked leaders 3rd, led approaching 2 out, soon clear, comfortable, won at Fakenham 2m 4f mdn (4) gs in Dec beating First Soldier (11-0) by 10l, 11 ran.
Major Dundee (IRE) 5-2 (10-12) Restrained behind leader, close up 3 out, ridden before 2 out, upsides last, edged narrowly ahead flat, disputed lead close home, denied on line, 2nd of 8, shd behind Sometimes Always (10-12) at Doncaster 2m 3f (4) hvy in Dec.
Gunsight Ridge 3-1 (11-12) Keen in mid-division on inside, steady headway approaching 3 out, chased leaders before next, ridden between last 2, went 2nd run-in, no chance with winner, 2nd of 15, 5l behind Gowel Road (12-0) at Newbury 2m hcp (4) hvy in Jan.
Top Man (IRE) 16-1 (10-7) Jumped left, led and disputed, outright leader before 2 out, headed 2 out, lost 2nd soon after, weakened before the last, 4th of 15, 17 1/4l behind Monte Cristo (11-7) at Kempton 2m 5f hcp (3) gs in Dec.
Debestyman (IRE) 15-2 (10-0) Held up rear of mid-division, headway on inside 3 out, outpaced final bend, weakened flat, 7th of 10, 20 3/4l behind On The Blind Side (11-6) at Cheltenham 3m hcp lst (1) sft in Nov.