DIAMOND FRONTIER rates the automatic selection in what looks a poor contest with Lord Larsson, Dar Es Salaam and Los Nadis the only others to make a modicum of appeal. Howard Johnson's runner got off the mark over fences last time when proving too good for a similarly modest bunch. That came under conditions almost identical to those faced here and, as the horse has won over further, we can expect a similarly positive ride from young Ryan Mania, who continues to impress many a judge. This horse remains capable of progressing beyond his official rating of 124, one that already should make him tough to beat. If there is an upset then perhaps Los Nadis would be the one most likely to provide it, although there have to be slight concerns as to his ability to act with cut. He was rated slightly better than Diamond Frontier over hurdles so at least we know he's got ability, but further concerns surround his ability to prove as good over fences having unseated none other than Ryan Mania on his first try. Dar Es Salaam ran a good race last time but he's got well over a stone to find at the figures and may not be suited by dropping in distance, so third place could go to Lord Larsson if he completes. That is a massive questionmark though because in four tries over fences he's yet to do so. Rock Port and Night Reveller look very poor and there will be some long faces amongst pundits and punters should Diamond Frontier not get the job done as he's confidently expected to do.
Dar Es Salaam 10-1 (11-5) Tracked leader, led after 7th, driven clear approaching 4 out, ridden and mistake 3 out, strongly challenged approaching last, headed flat, no extra, 2nd of 5, 1 1/4l behind Eyre Square (10-12) at Carlisle 2m 4f nov chs (4) gs in Mar.
Diamond Frontier (IRE) 4-7fav (11-0) Made all, drew 8 lengths clear last, stayed on well, unextended, won at Newcastle 2m beg chase (4) sft in Jan beating Justtheoneforyou (11-0) by 11l, 7 ran.
Lord Larsson 12-1 (11-0) Tracked leader, led 7th until ran out on paddock bend, in a race won by Mr Woods (11-0) at Carlisle 2m 4f beg chase (4) gs in Mar, 9 ran.
Los Nadis (GER) 11-1 (10-9) Tracked leaders in rear, stumbled badly and unseated rider 3rd (water), in a race won by Noble Alan (11-4) at Hexham 2m nov chs (3) gd in Mar, 3 ran.
Night Reveller (IRE) 200-1 (10-0) Always behind, soon detached, 6th of 7, well behind Farne Island (10-11) at Catterick 2m mdn chs (4) gd in Mar.
Rock Port 6-1 (11-12) Prom til wknd aft 14; to & pu 3 out, in a race won by Anotherbuck (12-5) at Friars Haugh 3m ptp gs in Mar, 11 ran.