Micky Hammond trained the winner of this in 2011 and will be hoping Summerlea can repeat the trick. He went very close over track and trip in December and only found one too good again here last time. Racing off the same mark and with Craig Nichol taking off 7lb, he must be thereabouts but HIT THE TOP should have come on a bundle for his third at Sedgefield and, though not done any favours by the handicapper, can come out on top here. Welsh Bard returns from a lengthy absence and may need further but Ayr winner Redpender didn't run badly at Kelso last time and is worth considering.
Welsh Bard (IRE) 15-8fav (11-4) Led, not fluent 6th, ridden and headed approaching 2 out, soon weakened, 9th of 12, 38l behind Unex Canaletto (10-11) at Kelso 2m 6f nov hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gd in May.
Hit The Top 11-2 (10-5) Tracked leaders when field came into view after 5th, outpaced in 4th when came into view briefly after 3 out, kept on same pace, no impression in 3rd when came into view again after last, 3rd of 8, 7l behind Maybe I Wont (10-12) at Sedgefield 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Dec.
Pierrers Bounty (IRE) 16-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders, pushed along from 6th, lost 4 out, weakened next, 8th of 12, 30l behind Wuff (11-0) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f NH mdn hdl (5) hvy in Dec.
Redpender (IRE) 6-1 (11-5) Tracked leader, ridden 2 out, kept on same pace, 5th of 13, 10l behind Bogside (11-0) at Kelso 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gs in Dec.
Jokers And Rogues (IRE) 50-1 (10-5) With leader, led 3rd, clear 5th, ran out next, in a race won by Forthefunofit (10-12) at Catterick 2m 3f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Dec, 14 ran.
Patavium (IRE) 12-1 (11-5) In touch, chased leaders before 4 out until after next, soon ridden, weakened before last, 7th of 18, 30l behind Mootabar (9-13) at Newcastle 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-100 (5) gs in Apr.
Summerlea (IRE) 6-1 (10-10) Held up, headway halfway, kept on from last, 2nd of 11, 2 1/4l behind Grate Fella (11-8) at Catterick 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) sft.
Knight Valliant 9-2fav (11-4) Held up in rear, headway after 3 out, effort on outside next, ridden and one pace approaching last, 5th of 13, 7l behind Cumbrian Farmer (10-11) at Catterick 2m 3f am hcp hdl 0-100 (5) gd in Dec.