Volnay De Thaix never came off the bridle in beating three ordinary rivals at Newbury last time but this is easily his toughest task to date. IRVING again showed a decent turn of foot to score here four weeks ago having made a winning start over hurdles at Taunton. He won on the soft on the level so the easier ground won't be a problem and Paul Nicholls' five-year-old can improve again to beat Huntingdon scorer Prince Siegfried and easy Aintree winner Splash of Ginge. Long Lunch's Plumpton success hasn't worked out but Massini's Trap has some decent form in Ireland and came up against Jezki at Down Royal on his latest start.
Irving 8-11fav (11-5) Tracked leading pair, challenged 3 out, led narowly before next, driven clear approaching last, ran on, well in command flat, readily, won at Ascot 2m hdl (3) gs in Nov beating A Hare Breath (11-0) by 4l, 7 ran.
Massini's Trap (IRE) 25-1 (10-9) Held up in rear, pushed along to go 4th approaching last, kept on same pace run-in without threatening, 4th of 5, 6l behind Jezki (11-10) at Down Royal 2m hdl G2 (1) in Nov.
Volnay De Thaix (FR) Evens6fav (11-8) Made all, clear after 3 out, went slightly left next, very easily, won at Newbury 2m nh nov hdl (3) gs in Nov beating The Master Remover (11-0) by 7l, 4 ran.
Prince Siegfried (FR) 9-2 (10-12) Tracked leaders, ridden to challenge from 2 out, ran on to lead towards finish, won at Huntingdon 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Nov beating My Wigwam Or Yours (10-12) by hd, 16 ran.
Splash of Ginge 3-1 (11-7) Made all, clear approaching 3 out, eased final 100 yards, won at Aintree 2m 1f mdn hdl (4) sft beating Gabrial The Great (11-7) by 20l, 7 ran.
Long Lunch 7-4 (11-0) Tracked leaders, led approaching 2 out, ridden clear between last 2, stayed on well, won at Plumpton 2m mdn hdl (5) sft in Oct beating Auld Sthock (11-0) by 2 3/4l, 11 ran.