Sametegal, third in the Triumph Hurdle here in March, has to concede weight all round but is unlikely to fail through lack of fitness. Bayan has rattled up a hat-trick at Perth and Listowel over the last few months but is probably taking on better opposition today and is conceding 4lb to HANDAZAN. A very easy winner of a decent handicap at Chepstow last week when In The Crowd finished tailed off, a follow-up looks on the cards. Leo Luna and Gassin Golf were first and second at Newbury in March when the selection was only third. But they are 7lb worse off here and the placings are expected to be reversed.
Sametegal (FR) 7-2fav (10-9) Tracked leader, challenged 3 out, ridden before 2 out, led soon after last, headed run-in, kept on, 2nd of 8, 2 1/4l behind Court Minstrel (10-9) at Ayr 2m Ltd hcp hdl (1) gd in Apr.
Bayan (IRE) 5-1fav (10-10) Chased leaders, 4th halfway, improved to dispute after 3 out, led before straight, challenged 2 out, soon ridden, kept on well from last, won at Listowel 2m Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (4yo) sft in Sep beating Call Me Bubbles (11-10) by 1 1/4l, 13 ran.
Gassin Golf 15-8 (11-0) Held up in touch in mid-division, took keen hold, headway 7th, went 2nd 4 out until 3 out, not fluent 2 out, 3rd and beaten when not fluent last, no extra flat, 3rd of 14, 13l behind Creepy (11-0) at Chepstow 2m 4f mdn hdl (5) gd.
Handazan (IRE) 5-1 (10-10) Made virtually all, joined 3rd, pushed along and in command before last, stayed on strongly flat, kept up to work, won at Chepstow 2m Limited hcp hdl (2) gd beating Another Hero (10-11) by 11l, 6 ran.
In The Crowd (IRE) 40-1 (10-4) Last pair, dropped to last 4th, soon lost touch, tailed off, 5th of 6, well behind Handazan (10-10) at Chepstow 2m Limited hcp hdl (2) gd.
Leo Luna 16-1 (11-10) Chased leading trio, went 3rd after 3 out, chased leader well before 2 out, ridden to lead 2 out, headed before last, stayed on same pace flat, lost 2nd final 135 yards, 3rd of 11, 3l behind Ptit Zig (11-12) at Sandown 2m 4yo hcp hdl (2) gd in Apr.