Thorncliffer blotted his copybook when pulled up at Towcester last month but he would have a chance in this if back to his best. Fidelor was also pulled up last time but is another to consider in a modest heat as Midnight Charmer took nine attempts to get off the mark over fences and only scraped home at Taunton off a 4lb lower mark. MR VALENTINO only does things at his own pace but was just outbattled by Quartz Du Montceau at Folkestone last time and a similar effort today would probably see him get his head in front.
Fidelor (FR) 12-1 (11-12) Led, not fluent, headed 4th, led when mistake next, headed before 6th, lost place next, well behind 13th, soon pulled up, in a race won by The Rockies (11-4) at Ludlow 3m nov hcp chs 0-110 (4) sft in Nov, 7 ran.
Mr Valentino (IRE) 9-1 (11-12) Chased winner until ridden after 3 out, rallied to 2nd again 2 out, closed approaching last, strong challenge and every chance under pressure flat, outbattled in closing stages, 2nd of 8, 1/2l behind Quartz Du Montceau (10-9) at Folkestone 3m 1f hcp chs 0-95 (5) gd in Dec.
Festival Bound (IRE) 5-1 (11-8) Held up in touch, headway 11th, went 4th approaching 14th, mistake 4 out, never on terms after, lost 4th before 2 out, weakened, tailed off, 6th of 8, 37l behind Quartz Du Montceau (10-9) at Folkestone 3m 1f hcp chs 0-95 (5) gd in Dec.
Thorncliffer 11-4 (10-1) Tracked leaders, reminder 9th, ridden after 3 out, weakened quickly and pulled up before next, in a race won by Gorgehous Lliege (11-2) at Towcester 2m 6f nov hcp chs 0-100 (5) hvy in Dec, 6 ran.
Midnight Charmer 4-1 (9-7) Mid-division, headway and in touch 8th, challenged 2 out (usual 3 out), led last (usual 2 out), soon ridden, held on under pressure flat, won at Taunton 2m 7f nov hcp chs 0-100 (5) hvy in Dec beating Master Flight (10-0) by nk, 10 ran.
Royal And Ancient (IRE) 33-1 (10-1) Held up in rear, headway 2 out, never on terms, 7th of 17, 17l behind Flora's Pride (11-4) at Catterick 2m 3f am hcp hdl 0-100 (5) sft in Dec.
Doheny Bar (IRE) 7-2 (11-0) Took keen hold, held up in rear, pushed along on outside approaching 7th, reminder after 9th, went 4th approaching 3 out, tailed off and pulled up before last, in a race won by Sulpius (12-0) at Folkestone 2m 5f nov hcp chs 0-95 (5) gd in Dec, 6 ran.
Flichity (IRE) 5-2 (9-9) Close up, slow 2nd, dropped to rear 4th, ridden along 8th, tailed off when pulled up 3 out, in a race won by Pickworth (11-4) at Market Rasen 2m 4f hcp 0-100 (5) sft in Nov, 5 ran.