Musical Wedge was no match for the winner at Market Rasen on Boxing Day but a couple of these had fallen victim to him at Towcester before that. Present To You and Miss Saffron had filled the places at Towcester and Milans Well had also found the top weight too good earlier in the year. GORGEHOUS LLIEGE is another recent winner at Towcester and Venetia Williams' charge is taken to defy a 6lb penalty as this looks no tougher. Friendly Society failed to figure in better company last time but is not easily dismissed on his earlier third at Punchestown when trained by Michael Hourigan.
Musical Wedge 9-2 (11-5) Prominent, joined leader 14th, mistake 16th, ridden to chase winner 2 out, weakened next, 2nd of 6, 25l behind Merlin's Wish (11-9) at Market Rasen 3m 5f hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Dec.
Whispering Jack 25-1 (10-7) Held up in touch, outpaced when not fluent 5 out, soon weakened, 7th of 9, 50l behind Renard (11-10) at Chepstow 2m 3f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Dec.
Friendly Society (IRE) 20-1 (11-2) Held up, pecked 3rd, mistake 10th, some headway 13th, mistake 3 out, never on terms, 7th of 16, 21l behind King Massini (10-12) at Cheltenham 2m 5f cond hcp chs (4yo+) (3) gd in Dec.
Present To You (IRE) 14-1 (10-10) Led, hard pressed 4 out, ridden before 2 out, kept on until headed and no extra flat, 2nd of 10, 2 1/2l behind Musical Wedge (11-2) at Towcester 3m hcp chs 0-120 (4) gs in Nov.
Mauricetheathlete (IRE) 7-1 (10-7) Tracked leaders in rear, ridden before 3 out, soon weakened, not fluent 2 out, last of 3, 35l behind Bit Of A Jig (11-0) at Sedgefield 3m 3f nov chs (4) gs in Dec.
Jat Punjabi 9-1 (11-12) With leader, led narrowly 3rd to 9th, lost place and ridden after next, weakened 3 out, 5th of 8, 21l behind Hollins (10-3) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f hcp chs 0-115 (4) hvy in Dec.
Gorgehous Lliege (FR) 7-4fav (10-10) Led, headed narrowly 7th, led again 11th, made rest, ridden before 2 out, 4 lengths clear last, tired towards finish, held on, won at Towcester 3m hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Dec beating Smart Exit (10-3) by 1 1/4l, 5 ran.
Milans Well (IRE) 10-1 (10-12) Held up in rear, outpaced 3 out, stayed on into mid-division from 2 out, never near leaders, 7th of 13, 19l behind Green Bank (11-4) at Market Rasen 3m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gd in Aug.
Miss Saffron 7-1 (9-12) Behind, chased leaders 3 out, soon ridden, went remote 3rd approaching, no chance with leaders, 3rd of 10, 7l behind Musical Wedge (11-2) at Towcester 3m hcp chs 0-120 (4) gs in Nov.