Qualando was only beaten a short-head in this last year when trained by Paul Nicholls. He has 2lb less to carry now so must go on the short-list. Eddiemaurice won a Class 2 handicap at Ascot in November and is only 2lb higher but Oh Land Abloom has never won away from Market Rasen. Space Oddity has a good record here but was pulled up when chasing a hat-trick off this mark at Wincanton in February while Black Corton’s future probably lies over fences and he’s not raced over a trip this far before. PHOBIAPHILIAC (NAP) has been pulled up in two of his last three starts but both of those runs were on unfavourable soft going. In between, he finished second over this course and distance and can redeem his reputation today.
Black Corton (FR) 5-1 (11-0) Set steady pace until headed 3rd, no chance with winner after, last of 2, dist behind Altior (11-0) at Kempton 2m 2f (4) sft in Nov.
Space Oddity (FR) 9-2 (11-7) Led, not fluent 5th, mistake next, soon headed, not much room after 3 out, weakened and pulled up before next, at Wincanton 2m 4f hcp (3) hvy in Feb.
Eddiemaurice (IRE) 66-1 (10-6) Held up in rear, outpaced 3 out, stayed on into mid-division from next, never nearer, 9th of 16, 22 1/4l behind Ballyandy (11-1) at Newbury 2m hcp (1) sft in Feb.
Qualando (FR) 10-1 (11-12) Chased leaders, ridden before 2 out, mistake last, went 2nd flat, no impression on winner, 2nd of 6, 8l behind The Unit (11-6) at Taunton 2m 3f hcp (3) gd in Mar.
Phobiaphiliac (IRE) 20-1 (11-12) Took keen hold, led 1st, clear before next until approaching 4th, headed after 3 out, weakened and pulled up before next, at Sandown 2m 4f hcp (1) sft in Mar.
Oh Land Abloom (IRE) 11-4 (11-0) Held up in 4th place, hit 7th, headway into 3rd 3 out, ridden between last two, went 2nd approaching last, driven and kept on same pace run-in, 2nd of 4, 1l behind Parish Business (11-3) at Doncaster 3m hcp (3) gd in Dec.