Posh Bird gained his first success over fences when sent over 3m6f at Catterick but the shorter trip and a 9lb rise may be enough to prevent a follow-up. NEPTUNE EQUESTER is also a very stout stayer as he proved when scoring over 3m4f at Haydock in November. He's raced in Grade 3 company on his two subsequent starts and will find this much more to his liking. Mister Marker is consistent enough but looking too high in the weights, a remark that also applies to Lockstown, who went up 19lb after completing a double in November and Extalar, beaten six lengths by him at Carlisle, has a big chance to reverse the form on these terms.
Neptune Equester 9-2fav (10-6) Held up towards rear, ridden after 15th, behind 18th, 12th of 13, 27l behind Hey Big Spender (11-12) at Warwick 3m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) gs in Jan.
Abbeybraney (IRE) 5-1 (11-1) Held up, lost touch after 10th, behind 13th, pulled up before 4 out, in a race won by Tamarinbleu (11-12) at Haydock 2m 5f hcp chs 0-145 (2) hvy in Dec, 7 ran.
Mister Marker (IRE) 6-1 (11-1) In touch on outside, driven and outpaced 8th, lost place next, headway under pressure on inside 3 out, ridden and edged left between last 2, kept on, never reached leaders, 4th of 10, 9l behind Reindeer Dippin (11-12) at Haydock 3m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) hvy in Jan.
Lockstown 5-1 (10-8) Held up, not fluent 7th, closed 14th until next, weakened 18th, tailed off, 4th of 6, 50l behind Bold Ransom (10-7) at Haydock 3m 4f hcp chs 0-145 (2) hvy in Dec.
Etxalar (FR) 9-1 (11-5) Held up towards rear, fell 6th, in a race won by Morgan Be (11-2) at Newcastle 3m hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Jan, 11 ran.
Sotovik (IRE) 12-1 (11-5) Prominent, under pressure 6th, weakened 3 out, 7th of 9, 45l behind Suprise Vendor (10-4) at Kelso 2m 2f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft in Dec.
Posh Bird (IRE) 8-1 (10-3) Held up towards rear and keen, headway before 6 out, led 2 out, kept on well after last, won at Catterick 3m 6f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Jan beating Cool Mission (11-8) by 5l, 12 ran.