Rougham sets the standard but perhaps NICE ONE ERIC can gain due reward for some good efforts, with Bermuda Boy one to note in the betting for his top yard. Emma Lavelle's gelding has been placed on each of his last two starts and in decent company too; he's lost nothing in defeat. It's frustrating that he's still not been able to win a race but this might just be his easiest task to date and conditions are ideal, so we'll take the six-year-old to make the most of the weight received from Rougham. Phillip Hobbs has his yard in fine order and this dual winner is surely the one to beat despite his penalty. Both hurdle victories have come on ground with cut and at this trip too, whilst a clear second to Advisor also reads well. He did make rather hard work of scoring in a weak race last time though, so we're prepared to take him on under this welter burden. Paul Nicholls should know where he stands with the favourite as the trainer of Advisor, so it'll be interesting to see which way Bermuda Boy goes in the market. He was an expensive purchase back in November despite not having appeared a world beater in France, but connections have presumably seen something they like and this isn't a bad starting point. Shoegazer is another to hail from a strong and in-form yard and his chance must be respected. This point-to-point winner ran a nice race on debut at Ffos Las but the feeling is he's going to need further before showing his best, so he's opposed this time. There's No Panic looks the stable second string and has serious questions to answer having not progressed from a bumper victory; he can only be watched along with Tiger Dream who has progressed through two starts over timber but this is a better race than he's contested and much more is required. Celtic Ballad came up against a smart rival on his debut and could do better here, but for the winner we return to Nice One Eric.
Rougham 1-5fav (11-5) Led until after 1st, soon led again, not fluent 3rd, jumped right and headed next, led after 5th, hung right on bend approaching 3 out, asserting when ridden flat, stayed on well, won at Newbury 2m 4yo nov hdl (4) gs beating Worth A King's (10-9) by 5l, 5 ran.
Across The Straits (FR) 100-1 (10-8) Held up, weakened approaching 3 out, 11th of 16, 48l behind Gus Macrae (11-1) at Hereford 2m 1f NH mdn hdl (4) sft.
Bendant 9-1 (11-1) In touch, tracked leaders from 3rd, weakened approaching 2 out, 5th of 12, 24l behind Black Jack Blues (11-8) at Ffos Las 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd.
Bermuda Boy (FR) 8-1 (8-9) 2nd of 9, 2l behind Rapporteur (8-11) at Toulouse(FR) 1m 2f stk sft in Nov (flat).
Kaycee (IRE) 125-1 (11-4) Behind, kept on from 2 out, never nearer, 8th of 14, 25l behind Mille Chief (11-0) at Huntingdon 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Mr Straffan (IRE) 100-1 (11-1) Always in rear, tailed off 3 out, 10th of 14, well behind Vino Griego (11-1) at Wincanton 2m nov hdl (4) hvy in Jan.
Nice One Eric (IRE) 7-2 (11-4) Held up in rear, steady headway approaching 3 out, 3rd going well before 2 out, chased winner before last, no impression flat, 2nd of 15, 4l behind Master Of The Hall (11-11) at Newbury 2m nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Russian Song (IRE) 28-1 (11-5) Mid-division, pushed along after 6th, soon struggling, tailed off when pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Wishfull Thinking (11-11) at Taunton 2m 3f nov hdl (3) sft in Jan, 13 ran.
Shoegazer (IRE) 12-1 (11-0) Held up towards rear, raced keen, headway after 3 out, challenged next, ridden and every chance approaching loast, not pace of winner, 2nd of 7, 3 1/2l behind Captive Audience (11-0) at Ffos Las 2m NH mdn hdl (4) sft.
The Boss Rock (IRE) 100-1 (11-0) Always behind, 5th of 15, well behind Organisateur (11-0) at Newton Abbot 2m 1f mdn hdl (4) hvy.
There's No Panic (IRE) 13-8fav (11-2) Held up towards rear, took keen hold, headway approaching 3 out, weakened flat, 6th of 13, 13l behind Like A Hurricane (11-2) at Fontwell 2m 2f mdn hdl (5) gd.
Tiger Dream 22-1 (10-12) In touch, chased winner approaching 2 out, strong challenge, keeping on, looked just held when hampered on outside rail and snatched up 50 yards out, not able to recover, 2nd of 14, 2l behind Superius (11-1) at Wincanton 2m mdn hdl (4) gd.
Celtic Ballad (IRE) 8-1 (10-12) Held up in 5th, headway to 4th and hit 6th, effort on inner to chase winner bend after 3 out, disputing well, held 2nd when hit last, weakened flat, 4th of 7, 21l behind Orzare (11-8) at Plumpton 2m 4yo nov hdl (3) gs in Feb.
Doric Echo 200-1 (10-12) Held up, weakened after 3 out, 8th of 10, 31l behind Super Kenny (10-12) at Stratford 2m 4yo nov hdl (3) gf.
Double Handful (GER) 7-1 (10-12) In touch, jumped right, mistake 3rd, mistake and weakened 5th, tailed off, 4th of 8, well behind Fin Vin De Leu (10-12) at Warwick 2m 4yo nov hdl (4) hvy in Feb.
Eastern Paramour (IRE) 8-1 (10-10) Held up towards rear, mistake 3rd, headway after 3 out, hit 2 out, 6th and no chance when hit last, 6th of 11, 24l behind Sure Josie Sure (10-7) at Wincanton 2m mrs nov hdl (4) sft in Dec.
Santo Thomas (FR) 7-1 (10-7) Held up in mid-division,weakened approaching 4 out, 8th of 16, 42l behind Raquel White (10-5) at Ludlow 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd.