Honest John won at Huntingdon and Doncaster in November but looked to be in the handicapper's grip when attempting a hat-trick at Taunton and may not be suited by the drop back in distance. The Thirsty Bricky has struggled recently while The Black Baron lacks consistency and Special Robon was still beaten 15 lengths when second at Huntingdon last week and has a bit to prove over fences. THREE CHORDS will have needed his run at Leicester last month and doesn't have many miles on the clock. He's potentially well treated and gets a tentative vote to land this with Fairy Rath having disappointed at Sandown last time, though the latter had won at Wincanton previously.
The Thirsty Bricky (IRE) 50-1 (10-11) Not fluent 1st, held up towards rear, well beaten before 3 out, 5th of 9, 26l behind Shangani (11-5) at Catterick 2m 3f hcp chs 0-135 (3) sft.
Honest John 7-2 (11-4) Tracked leader, ridden and effort approaching 2 out (usual 3 out), soon outpaced by leading pair, lost moderate 3rd flat, 4th of 8, 22l behind No Secrets (11-4) at Taunton 2m 7f hcp chs 0-130 (3) hvy in Dec.
Only Vintage (USA) 33-1 (11-2) Held up towards rear on outside, pushed along after 6th, mistake 10th, not fluent next, pulled up before 12th, in a race won by Ballyallia Man (11-2) at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Jan, 9 ran.
Three Chords (IRE) 6-1 (10-6) Held up, took keen hold, weakened approaching 13th, tailed off and soon pulled up, in a race won by Buddy Bolero (11-3) at Leicester 2m 7f hcp chs 0-140 (3) hvy in Jan, 7 ran.
Fairy Rath (IRE) 11-2 (11-2) Led to 3 out, weakened before last, 6th of 7, 27l behind Johns Spirit (11-12) at Sandown 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) sft in Dec.
The Black Baron (IRE) 11-1 (11-6) Mid-division, unseated rider 1st, in a race won by O Crotaigh (11-11) at Market Rasen 2m 6f hcp chs 0-115 (4) sft, 10 ran.
Chasers Chance (IRE) 18-1 (10-5) Held up in rear, not fluent 16th, some headway 3 out, soon weakened, 6th of 8, 26l behind Chartreux (11-10) at Wincanton 3m 3f hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Jan.
Special Robon (FR) 11-4fav (10-12) Led until 6th, led before 10th, headed next, led 3 out, headed next, no impression on winner and eased flat, 2nd of 8, 15l behind Rouge Et Blanc (11-4) at Huntingdon 2m 4f hcp ch 0-110 (4) gs.