SPECIAL TIARA has won two of the last three renewals and will no doubt have been trained with the race in mind again. He’s rated 2lb higher than likely market rival Politologue and can complete the hat-trick as the Nicholls’ grey has only had 18 days to recover from a hard race at Sandown, where he bravely held off Fox Norton in the Tingle Creek. Vaniteux has also won twice around here but he’s yet to fire since switching stables and Forest Bihan was pulled up behind Politologue at Exeter last month.
Politologue (FR) 7-2 (11-7) Tracked clear leader, jumped well, every chance 3 out, led after next, soon challenged, ran on well and always in command, won at Sandown 2m (1) gs in Dec beating Fox Norton (11-7) by 1/2l, 6 ran.
Special Tiara 8-1 (11-6) Led, not fluent 6th, headed after 3 out, one pace next, no chance with winner between last 2, ridden and kept on under pressure flat, lost well beaten 2nd near finish, 3rd of 5, 8 1/4l behind Fox Norton (11-6) at Cheltenham 2m (1) sft in Nov.
Vaniteux (FR) 33-1 (11-4) Chased leaders in 4th, took closer order 3 out, soon under pressure, mistake last, no extra closing stages, last of 4, 12 3/4l behind Top Notch (11-6) at Taunton 2m 6f (1) sft in Dec.
Forest Bihan (FR) 5-1 (11-6) Held up in rear, struggling 5 out, never able to challenge, weakened and pulled up before next, at Exeter 2m 1f hcp (1) sft in Nov.