Runswick Royal finished runner-up in a Grade 1 juvenile event at Aintree early in the year and a repeat would see him go close back in handicap company. Empire Levant is harder to fancy back over timber on his first start since April but stablemate RANJAAN looks to have leading claims. He scored at Kempton on his recent reappearance and looks ready to fulfil the promise he showed early last season. Robbie is on the upgrade over fences though is 9lb higher than when last scoring over hurdles, while Makari and Ted Spread also have something to prove off their current marks. Franciscan and Purple Bay are closely matched on latest running behind Zamdy Man and both have scope for further progress.
Runswick Royal (IRE) 7-2 (10-12) In touch, not fluent 4 out, outpaced after next, stayed on well approaching last, never troubled leaders, 3rd of 5, 8l behind Rolling Star (11-6) at Haydock 2m hdl (2) sft in Nov.
Empire Levant (USA) 2-1fav (11-4) Led, not fluent 1st, headed 3rd, tracked leader, fell 8th, in a race won by Theatre Guide (11-8) at Newton Abbot 2m 5f nov chs (3) gs in Apr, 6 ran.
Ranjaan (FR) 4-1 (11-9) Took keen hold, held up towards rear, headway 4 out, chased leaders from 3 out, chased leader from next, challenged last, edged right under pressure flat, driven ahead final 50 yards, won at Kempton 2m cond hcp hdl (0-130) (3) gd in Nov beating Fourth Estate (11-0) by nk, 9 ran.
Robbie 2-1 (10-13) Tracked leader, mistake 8th, not fluent next, driven to challenge 3 out, soon every chance, left in lead at last, eased near finish, won at Musselburgh 2m 4f (3) gd in Nov beating Katys Girl (10-5) by 21l, 3 ran.
Ted Spread 3-1fav (11-12) Tracked leaders, went 2nd 5 out until last, kept on same pace, 3rd of 10, 6l behind Cry Of Freedom (11-4) at Taunton 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-140 (3) gf in May.
Makari 7-1 (10-6) Held up towards rear, mistake 5th, pushed along after 3 out, no chance when hit last, 7th of 12, 18l behind Pine Creek (10-4) at Ascot 2m Listed hcp hdl (1) gs in Nov.
Ruler Of All (IRE) 8-1 (10-13) Mid-division, headway after 4 out, ridden to challenge next, every chance last, kept on well, 2nd of 12, 1/2l behind Moujik Borget (11-1) at Haydock 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft in Nov.
Franciscan 7-1 (11-6) Tracked leader, effort approaching 3 out, soon one pace, 3rd of 5, 5l behind Zamdy Man (11-8) at Haydock 2m Listed nov hdl (1) sft in Nov.
Purple Bay (IRE) 9-4 (11-6) Held up in rear but in touch, raced wide, headway 4 out, ridden to challenge 2 out, kept on same pace, 4th of 5, 5l behind Zamdy Man (11-8) at Haydock 2m Listed nov hdl (1) sft in Nov.
Lightening Rod 5-1 (10-6) In rear, headway 2 out, ridden before last, kept on same pace, 5th of 9, 8l behind Zaplamation (10-1) at Wetherby 2m (3) gs.