After a pipe-opener at Sandown, Black Gerry attracted strong support on heavy going at Lingfield and comfortably beat the odds-on Young Lieutenant. With conditions likely to be in his favour again he has to be respected. Lieutenant Rocco was also well backed to make a successful debut over timber on testing ground at Chepstow and made all for a very convincing victory. That was over 2m3f but dropping back in trip shouldn't pose a problem. The four-year-old SOLO is having his first start for Paul Nicholls after scoring on heavy going at Auteuil by 15 lengths in November. He looks the one to be on in receipt of weight from his two main rivals. Ragamuffin won his only start between the flags by 10 lengths and is one to keep an eye on.
Black Gerry (IRE) 3-1 (11-0) Held up, closed 3rd, led and hung left from 2 out, clear flat, stayed on, won at Lingfield 2m (4) hvy in Jan beating Young Lieutenant (11-0) by 4 1/2l, 5 ran.
Lieutenant Rocco (IRE) 3-1 (11-2) Made all, clear before last, easily, won at Chepstow 2m 3f (4) hvy in Jan beating Islandray (11-2) by 11l, 8 ran.
Apache Creek (IRE) 66-1 (11-4) Chased leaders, not fluent 6th, weakened before 3 out, 9th of 12, dist behind Allart (11-4) at Ludlow 2m (4) sft in Jan.
Captain Aulmes (FR) 100-1 (11-5) Held up in rear, headway after 5th, lost place 3 out, well beaten after, 8th of 9, 29 3/4l behind Beaufort West (11-5) at Chepstow 2m mdn (5) hvy in Jan.
Gorcombe's Rascal 200-1 (11-4) Chased leaders, weakened quickly bypassing 4th, tailed off and pulled up before 3 out, at Exeter 2m 1f mdn (4) hvy in Jan.
How's The Cricket (IRE) 100-1 (11-2) Behind, headway before 2 out, plugged on and never dangerous, 4th of 17, 36 1/4l behind Calva D'Auge (11-8) at Wincanton 1m 7f (3) sft in Jan.
Jewelinthename (IRE) 50-1 (11-2) Mid-division, in 7th and well held when fell 2 out, at Wincanton 1m 7f (3) sft in Jan.
Lamanver Bel Ami 66-1 (10-12) Never better than mid-division, 11th of 18, 37 1/2l behind Sporting John (11-4) at Exeter 2m 1f (4) sft in Dec.
Larcadio (IRE) 150-1 (10-12) Behind most of way, 9th of 14, dist behind Shishkin (10-12) at Newbury 2m (4) hvy in Jan.
Ragamuffin (IRE) 7-2 (11-12) Made all; unchall, won at Revesby Park 2m gs in Jan beating Deremich (11-12) by 10l, 7 ran.
Silver Nickel (IRE) 100-1 (10-12) Soon behind, struggling 5th, lost touch after 3 out, tailed off, 9th of 13, dist behind Fiddlerontheroof (10-12) at Sandown 2m (3) hvy in Dec.
Solo (FR) (10-10) won at Auteuil 2m 1f sft in Nov beating High King (10-7) by 15l, 14 ran.
Sambella 80-1 (10-9) Prominent, weakened before 2 out, 6th of 17, dist behind Calva D'Auge (11-8) at Wincanton 1m 7f (3) sft in Jan.