A prolific winner in Ireland, Aleef is 8lb higher than when scoring at Navan in October as he debuts for a new yard. Samovar makes a quick reappearance having gone close behind Airshow over the minimum trip here two days ago and can figure if quickly away again but it could pay to stick with KATHEEFA (NAP). He arrives fresh from last month’s victory at Wolverhampton and has won twice here in the past - Ruth Carr’s grey can defy a 3lb rise. Shallow Hal failed to win a race last year but Young John won off a 5lb lower mark here in October.
Katheefa (USA) 28-1 (9-4) Outpaced in rear, headway over 1f out, ran on to lead last strides, won at Wolverhampton 6f hcp (4) pol in Dec beating Storm Over (9-4) by hd, 12 ran.
Young John (IRE) 6-1 (9-7) Slowly into stride and slightly hampered start, outpaced in last pair, plugged on late, never on terms, 6th of 9, 7l behind Spirit Of May (9-4) at Chelmsford City 6f hcp (4) pol in Dec.
Zylan (IRE) 66-1 (9-8) Raced keenly, chased leaders, pushed along over 2f out, soon weakened, last of 11, 13 1/4l behind Northernpowerhouse (9-0) at Newcastle 7f hcp (4) pol in Dec.
Eye Of The Water (IRE) 18-1 (9-4) Held up, never dangerous, eased final furlong, last of 12, 22 1/4l behind Katheefa (9-4) at Wolverhampton 6f hcp (4) pol in Dec.
Aleef (IRE) 11-2fav (9-1) Disputed lead, headed at halfway, soon ridden, dropped to 3rd 1f out, weakened, 7th of 16, 5 1/4l behind All The King's Men (10-1) at Navan 6f hcp Yielding in Oct.
Shallow Hal 14-1 (8-13) Tracked leaders, every chance well over 1f out, no extra closing stages, 6th of 14, 3 1/4l behind Brushwork (9-2) at Newcastle 6f hcp (3) pol in Dec.
Samovar 6-1 (9-0) Led, ridden well over 1f out, headed last strides, 2nd of 7, nk behind Airshow (9-4) at Southwell 5f hcp (3) pol in Jan.