Plenty with chances in an open handicap and topweight Devotion To Duty should prove a tough nut to crack despite an 8lb hike for a Newcastle success over Railway Dillon. These look his optimum conditions and he should certainly be in the mix. Premier Sagas is possibly in the grip of the handicapper at present whilst Rudemeister is a consistent performer who remains open to further improvement over the larger obstacles. Humbie can usually be relied upon to run his race too but has a 307-day absence to overcome and we'll take a chance at a price with FRENCH TIES. He's down to a really workable mark at present and has clear claims at his best. Hopefully, that level can be rediscovered here, especially now that the Jennie Candlish yard has come through a low-key patch and seems back to something like best form.
Devotion To Duty (IRE) 14-1 (11-7) Held up mid-division, headway before 4 out, ridden before 3 out, lwed before last, kept on well, won at Newcastle 2m 4f hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft beating Railway Dillon (11-7) by 8l, 9 ran.
Premier Sagas (FR) 9-1 (11-12) Led, headed 10th, tracked leader, challenging and upsides leader when left in lead 3 out, ridden and headed before last, no chance with winner, 2nd of 6, 6l behind Storming Gale (11-7) at Ayr 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) sft.
Douglas Julian 7-1 (11-11) Tracked leader, pushed along before 9th, weakened before 2 out, 5th of 9, 27l behind Devotion To Duty (11-7) at Newcastle 2m 4f hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft.
Zitenka (IRE) 8-1 (10-9) Held up towards rear, pushed along before 5 out, weakened 4 out, 8th of 10, 48l behind Monkerty Tunkerty (10-11) at Doncaster 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd in Feb.
Rudemeister (IRE) 11-4fav (11-5) Held up towards rear, headway before 11th on inner, chased winner last, kept on well towards finish, 2nd of 11, nk behind Oil Burner (10-2) at Carlisle 2m 5f nov hcp chs 0-120 (4) gd.
Tyrone House (IRE) 40-1 (10-9) Led, headed after 2nd, tracked leader, every chance 3 out, weakened before last, 6th of 9, 16l behind Herdsman (10-3) at Wetherby 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft in Jan.
Humbie (IRE) 15-8fav (11-7) Held up towards rear and raced wide, headway when not much room and hit 15th, chased leaders before 4 out, went 3rd before next, held when hampered after last, soon in 2nd, no chance with winner, 2nd of 10, 20l behind Night In Milan (10-12) at Kelso 3m 1f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in May.
French Ties (IRE) 20-1 (10-10) Held up in rear, mistake 10th, headway 12th, 5th when hit 3 out, never on terms, no impression, 7th of 9, 30l behind Shangani (11-5) at Catterick 2m 3f hcp chs 0-135 (3) sft in Feb.
Netminder (IRE) 4-1 (11-7) Led until 2nd, remained prominent, led again 8th, headed 11th, led again 13th, headed 3 out, weakened next, modest 4th, 4th of 10, 37l behind Do It For Dalkey (11-7) at Ayr 3m 1f hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft.
Willie Hall 33-1 (11-9) In rear, went 5th before 3 out, no impression, 6th of 8, 29l behind Bertie Milan (10-9) at Carlisle 2m 5f hcp chs 0-115 (4) hvy in Feb.