POLAR GUNNER can account for his younger rivals although Quicuyo and Raysrock will be no pushover. Malcolm Jefferson's veteran is a regular winner when the mud is hock deep and he looks likely to have those conditions here again. There was no fluke about his recent second to Almaydan at Doncaster and his conditional's seven pound claim should prove handy. Quicuyo made all to take a chase over course-and-distance and has to be respected accordingly. Raysrock was once a useful novice over hurdles. He hasn't exactly set the world alight over the bigger obstacles. First Look is inconsistent though perfectly capable of landing a prize of this nature. Storymaker needs to brush up upon his fencing if he is to take any hand in this. Echo Point was pulled up on his last outing and the market is watched to see if he can make amends. Polar Gunner can make experience count in a race where there are plenty of possible improvers.
First Look (FR) 20-1 (11-4) Chased leaders, outpaced after 5 out, ridden, weakened 2 out, 8th of 9, 29l behind Daldini (10-7) at Wetherby 2m 4f hcp chs (2) sft in Jan.
Echo Point (IRE) 6-1 (11-7) Held up, ridden 8th, behind when pulled up 3 out in race won by Final Veto (10-0) at Wetherby 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft in Dec, 12 ran.
Polar Gunner 33-1 (10-7) In touch, chased winner approaching 4 out, no impression, 2nd of 15, 5l behind Almaydan (11-12) at Doncaster 2m hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Jan.
Quicuyo (GER) 4-1 (11-4) Led to 3 out, weakened approaching last, lost 2nd flat, 3rd of 5, 18l behind Cromwell Court (10-12) at Ayr 2m nov chs (3) hvy in Jan.
Storymaker 8-1 (11-0) Mid-division, 5th and in touch when blundered 9th, did not recover, 9th of 12, well behind Auroras Encore (11-0) at Sedgefield 2m 4f beg chs (4) sft in Dec.
Raysrock (IRE) 5-2 (10-9) Tracked leaders, mistake 6th, third and outpaced when pecked 5 out, ridden and no impression from next, 4th of 8, 16l behind Kealshore Boy (11-2) at Newcastle 2m 4f beg chs (4) gs in Nov.
Sotovik (IRE) 11-1 (11-5) Held up in touch and raced keen, hit 5th, weakened after 3 out, 9th of 10, well behind Piraeus (11-2) at Catterick 3m 1f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gs in Dec '06.
Arigna (IRE) 80-1 (10-11) Towards rear when hit and fell at the 5th in race won by Chrysander (11-2) at Musselburgh 2m 4f clm chs (4) gs, 10 ran.