SHAKING HANDS is only 2lb higher than when narrowly beaten in this stamina test 12 months ago. He had a pipe-opener over hurdles here last month and, with Tom Bellamy taking off 7lb, can go one better this year. Desperate Dex is on a hat-trick after victories at Wincanton and Chepstow and his stable remains in excellent form while Lord Tomnoddy won at Ascot last month and gives every impression he'll stay extreme distances. Our Island hasn't really built on early promise, however, and Arbor Supreme has failed to cash in on a tumbling mark. Veteran Ammunition may be the pick of the remainder therefore.
Our Island (IRE) 11-4fav (11-8) Tracked leaders, mistake and reminder 5th, soon lost place,mistake 7th, hit 11th, went poor 4th 5 out, never dangerous, 4th of 7, 36l behind Rose Of The Moon (10-12) at Wetherby 3m 1f nov chs (3) gs in Nov.
Lord Tomnoddy 8-1 (11-8) Held up in lst pair in touch, went 3rd at 15th, challenged going well on inside aprroaching bypassed 2 out, led last, stayed on well to go clear flat, won at Ascot 3m nov hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Nov beating Emperor's Choice (11-6) by 4l, 6 ran.
Graduation Night 9-2 (11-8) Mid-division, outpaced and lost place 18th, stayed on again from 2 out, went modest 5th flat, 5th of 12, 16l behind Time For Spring (11-9) at Sandown 3m hcp chs 0-125 (3) gs in Nov.
Shaking Hands (IRE) 5-1 (11-12) Led, ridden most of way, headed approaching 6th, mistake next, weakened 9th, tailed off, last of 11, well behind Farmer Matt (10-2) at Exeter 2m 7f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) sft in Nov.
River D'or (FR) 3-1fav (10-4) Held up in rear, outpaced before 15th, weakened from 4 out, 7th of 9, 45l behind Incentivise (10-0) at Fontwell 3m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Nov.
Arbor Supreme (IRE) 12-1 (11-5) Close up, ridden 10th, weakened next, very tired when jumped right final two fences, tailed off, last of 4, well behind Mister Hyde (11-9) at Market Rasen 2m 6f hcp chs 0-125 (3) sft in Nov.
Desperate Dex (IRE) 3-1 (11-8) Chased leader, challenged 5 out, led next, came clear from 2 out, easily, won at Chepstow 3m hcp chs 0-105 (4) sft in Nov beating For The Staff (11-7) by 14l, 6 ran.
Chesapeake (IRE) 7-1 (11-4) Held up, headway 5th, outpaced 4 out, rallied after 3 out, went 2nd before last, switched left towards finish, held by winner, 2nd of 6, 1l behind Incentivise (11-0) at Bangor 3m hcp chs 0-115 (4) gs in Oct.
Ammunition (IRE) 13-8fav (11-8) Led, ridden and headed 3 out, kept on and no impression with winner, 2nd of 4, 9l behind Chasers Chance (10-8) at Exeter 3m hcp chs 0-115 (4) hvy in Oct.
Miss Fleur 12-1 (11-4) Chased leaders, hit 3rd, mistake hampered and dropped to rear next, tailed off 7th, pulled up before next, in a race won by Ballinhassig (9-11) at Plumpton 3m 2f hcp chs 0-100 (5) gs in Jan, 9 ran.