Lord Springfield made a winning start for a new yard when landing a novices race at Southwell and will find this tougher up against a couple of other recent winners. Present Chief won nicely at Uttoxeter in August and should make another bold bid despite a 10lb hike but NEVILLE’S CROSS is just preferred. The latter also won at Uttoxeter when upped to 3m and there looks more to come over this longer trip Tom Lacey’s yard in such good form. Laugharne is fitted with a tongue-tie on his first start of the year and is preferred to Merry Milan of the remaining pair.
Laugharne 11-1 (11-12) Led, not fluent 3rd, headed approaching 2 out, soon ridden, kept on and every chance last, no extra flat, 3rd of 12, 3 3/4l behind Good And Hardy (11-10) at Chepstow 3m hcp (4) sft in Nov.
Present Chief (IRE) 13-8fav (11-12) Held up towards rear, headway from 3 out, mistake 2 out, led last, soon clear, won at Uttoxeter 2m 7f hcp (5) gd in Aug beating Little Saint (10-11) by 3 3/4l, 13 ran.
Lord Springfield (IRE) 10-1 (11-0) Led, jumped big 1st, headed 3rd, chased leader, led again before 2 out, headed between last 2, led again last, held on, won at Southwell 2m 4f (4) gd in Jul beating Rubytwo (10-7) by shd, 7 ran.
Merry Milan (IRE) 16-1 (11-2) Towards rear on outside, closed 14f out, niggled along over 7f out, ridden over 4f out, soon weakened, 5th of 8, 21 3/4l behind Lantiern (11-2) at Wolverhampton 2m 1f (4) pol in Feb.
Neville's Cross (IRE) 3-1fav (11-12) Chased leaders, challenged 3 out, led before 2 out, stayed on well, comfortably, won at Uttoxeter 2m 7f hcp (4) gd in Sep beating Little Jack (11-9) by 1 3/4l, 12 ran.