A case can be established for most and a chance is taken on WESTERN RULES on his return to action after an absence of well over 600 days. Hopefully, the market will speak positively of his chance but he did run well against a number of talented sorts in bumpers and novice hurdles and is a chance worth taking in a competitive but not especially high-quality affair. Last month's Southwell winner, Early Retirement, is another strong chance on the card for Harry Skelton and should be in the shake-up despite topweight as he seeks the three-timer on ground that should suit him well. He is 19lb higher though than when scoring last spring - also at Southwell. Course and distance winner Silver Dragon and the consistent Talkofgold are also of interest.
Early Retirement (IRE) 9-2 (11-6) Held up in touch in last pair, reminders after 4th, headway on wide outside chasing leaders 3 out, 2nd soon after, led before 2 out, clear before the last, kept on strongly run-in, won at Southwell 2m 4f hcp (4) gd in Oct beating Woodfort (11-9) by 3 1/4l, 8 ran.
Western Rules (IRE) 11-8fav (10-11) Tracked leaders in 3rd, reminders after 4 out, soon weakened, 4th of 5, 32 1/4l behind Shades Of Midnight (11-12) at Ayr 2m 4f hcp (3) hvy in Mar.
Make Me A Fortune (IRE) 6-1 (11-7) Held up in touch on outside, 2nd 8th until 11th, stayed close up, challenging 2 out, hard ridden and every chance when fell last, at Southwell 3m hcp (4) gd in Mar.
Allbarnone 16-1 (11-12) Held up rear of mid-division, headway on outside after 8th, ridden and lost place before 3 out, 7th of 12, 24 1/2l behind Tempuran (11-0) at Ludlow 2m 5f hcp (4) gd in Nov.
Little Bruce (IRE) 7-1 (10-6) Held up mid-division, ridden before 4 out, soon weakened, tailed off, pulled up, at Ayr 3m hcp (3) hvy in Nov.
Skipthescales (IRE) 16-1 (11-7) In touch, ridden before 3 out, soon headway, kept on to take 3rd place run-in, 3rd of 13, 8 1/2l behind On A Promise (10-7) at Wetherby 2m 5f hcp (4) gs in Nov.
Silver Dragon 12-1 (10-13) Held up towards rear, soon tracked leader, led 5th, clear before 2 out, won at Sedgefield 3m 3f hcp (5) gs in May beating Darsi Dancer (11-4) by 12l, 8 ran.
Apachee Prince (IRE) 11-2 (11-1) Held up mid-division, headway before 4 out, led before 2 out, headed 2 out, kept on from last, 4th of 11, 8 3/4l behind Buckled (12-3) at Kelso 2m 7f hcp (4) gd in Oct.
Talkofgold (IRE) 7-2 (11-5) Chased leader until 6th, chased leaders, pushed along before 2 out, lost 3rd at the last, weakened run-in, 4th of 8, 13 1/4l behind Pat's Oscar (10-12) at Perth 2m 4f (4) hvy in Sep.