Paul Nicholls has won this three times in six years but Vico, who makes his handicap debut after three very expensive failures for punters in novice company, faces a stiff task. Whispering Jack was conceding 8lb to Life Of A Luso when beating him a length at Wincanton and there's nothing between them here but PAINT THE CLOUDS was a decisive winner on fast ground last time and has really found his form. AP McCoy rode him to that victory at Wincanton and has been snapped up to do the steering this time suggesting a quick follow-up is likely. It's difficult to find one without a chance in a wide-open contest and Prophete De Guye is definitely one of those with realistic hopes after reverting to hurdles on a very fair mark at Towcester last month.
Vico (IRE) 5-4fav (10-7) Tracked leaders, driven when every chance 3 out, soon under pressure, weakening when hung badly right after last, 4th of 12, 35l behind Bunglasha Lady (10-12) at Fontwell 2m 6f nov hdl (4) gs in Feb.
Total Submission 7-1 (11-8) Held up in touch, chased leaders approaching 8th, hard driven 3 out, left in modest 2nd 2 out, never able to challenge, 2nd of 7, 24l behind Swingkeel (10-13) at Ffos Las 3m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Mar.
Whispering Jack 5-4fav (11-9) Always prominent, led approaching 2 out, ridden and edged left before hitting last, driven out flat, in command close home, won at Wincanton 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gf in Mar beating Life Of A Luso (11-1) by 1l, 6 ran.
Paint The Clouds 1-2fav (11-7) Prominent, led 7th, made rest, clear 2 out, eased flat, comfortable, won at Wincanton 2m 6f nh nov hdl (4) gf in Mar beating Campden Society (10-8) by 24l, 5 ran.
Phare Isle (IRE) 9-4fav (11-0) Mid-division, headway to chase leaders 12th, chased leader next, every chance when blundered and unseated rider 4 out, in a race won by Cottage Flyer (11-0) at Fakenham 3m beg chase (3) gd in Mar, 7 ran.
Jay J 9-1 (11-12) Took keen hold, held up in bunch, not fluent 5th, lost place 7th, well behind after next, tailed off, 8th of 9, well behind Havingotascoobydo (11-0) at Ludlow 2m 5f nov hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gd in Mar.
Educated Evans (IRE) 15-2 (11-5) Pressed leader until before 4th, stayed in 2nd, led 6th, ridden and headed before 2 out,
Divy (FR) 6-1 (11-10) Led, headed after 3 out, hit next, 3rd and beaten approaching last, 3rd of 13, 17l behind Extreme Impact (11-12) at Chepstow 3m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gd in Mar.
Lexicon Lad (IRE) 11-2 (11-10) Held up in rear, not much room when stumbled on path after 1st, headway after 8th, ridden and pressing leaders 3 out, edged left and outpaced after next, 3rd of 9, 15l behind Havingotascoobydo (11-0) at Ludlow 2m 5f nov hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gd in Mar.
Life Of A Luso (IRE) 5-1 (11-5) Chased leading pair, ridden to challenge 4 out, weakened next, blundered 2 out, 3rd of 5, 29l behind Goring One (10-11) at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gf in Mar.
Monsieur Cadou (FR) 7-1 (11-3) Chased leading trio, 3rd from 7th, went 2nd before 3 out, every chance when hit next, soon ridden and lost 2nd, rallied under pressure to 2nd again final 150 yards, no impression on winner, 2nd of 11, 1 1/2l behind Jump Up (10-13) at Ffos Las 3m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) sft in Mar.
Prophete de Guye (FR) 7-1 (10-6) Held up in rear, took keen hold, headway 9th, went 3rd after 3 out, stayed on same pace, went 2nd close home, no chance with winner, 2nd of 8, 11l behind Connectivity (11-5) at Towcester 3m hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gd in Mar.
Rebel Swing 7-2 (11-7) Pressed leader, driven and lost place after 4 out, soon outpaced, rallied on inside when left in lead 2 out, edged right and stayed on flat, ridden out, won at Ayr 3m nov hcp hdl 0-110 (4) hvy in Mar beating Artic Night (11-4) by 4 1/2l, 8 ran.
Madame Jasmine 6-1 (11-1) Pulled hard in rear, headway 4 out, ridden to chase leader 2 out, stayed on to lead near finish, won at Plumpton 3m 1f hcp hdl 0-105 (4) gs in Mar beating Cloudy Wager (11-0) by nk, 10 ran.
Noddies Way 22-1 (11-0) Behind, struggling 6th, never dangerous, 13th of 15, well behind Rockabilly (11-8) at Exeter 2m 7f nov hcp hdl 0-105 (4) gd in Mar.
Rooftop Rainbow (IRE) 10-1 (11-4) Tracked leaders, outpaqced when mistake 4 out, headway under pressure on outside next, soon ridden effort to chase leading pair after 2 out, kept on same pace, no impression when lost 3rd towards finish, 4th of 15, 4l behind Rockabilly (11-8) at Exeter 2m 7f nov hcp hdl 0-105 (4) gd in Mar.
Sail And Return 5-4fav (10-8) Tracked leaders, went 2nd before 2 out, weakened before last, 3rd of 14, 5l behind Flying Award (10-11) at Wincanton 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gd.