Viva Steve kept on well when second to If In Doubt over 2m at Towcester a couple of weeks ago and should be winning soon. He'll have no problem with the extra here while Barney Cool was only beaten half-a-length at Kempton before finishing fourth at Ascot, just a length behind subsequent Doncaster winner Minellaforfitness. SOUND INVESTMENT was a promising third behind the smart Puffin Billy at Newbury on his hurdles bow and won by 12 lengths at Taunton last month. He's improving and can defy his penalty as Wetherby winner Malapie may find this an insufficient test of stamina and Seedsman seems to need very heavy ground to show his best. Edmund Kean was fourth at Ffos Las at the start of the month and should know more today.
Malapie (IRE) 25-1 (10-12) Held up in touch and keen, headway 3 out, ridden to lead before last, driven out, won at Wetherby 2m 6f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Dec beating Green Wizard (10-5) by 3/4l, 11 ran.
Seedsman 9-2 (11-5) Held up in touch, headway 4 out, went 2nd going well 3 out, led narrowly 2 out, driven and strongly pressed approaching last, headed flat, no extra, 2nd of 7, 1 1/4l behind Bucking The Trend (11-5) at Leicester 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) hvy in Dec.
Sound Investment (IRE) 5-6fav (11-6) Tracked leader, not fluent 1st, led 3rd, not fluent 4th, mistake 2 out, not fluent last, shaken up and soon clear, easily, won at Taunton 2m 3f mdn hdl (5) sft in Jan beating Bladoun (11-6) by 12l, 8 ran.
Barney Cool 5-2 (11-0) Held up towards rear, headway 4 out, not fluent and pushed along next, no impression 2 out, plugged on flat, 4th of 12, 14l behind Many Clouds (11-0) at Ascot 2m 3f NH mdn hdl (3) sft in Nov.
Best Director (IRE) 40-1 (11-2) Held up in touch, not fluent and bumped 5th, soon ridden, weakened 3 out, 8th of 13, 37l behind My Tent Or Yours (11-12) at Huntingdon 2m NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (4) sft in Jan.
Catcher Star (IRE) Catcher In The Rye gelding out of Drumdeels Star.
Edmund Kean (IRE) 20-1 (10-10) Held up in rear, not fluent 4th, ridden after next, stayed on from 2 out, went 4th flat, never nearer, 4th of 13, 13l behind Top Gamble (11-3) at Ffos Las 2m nh nov hdl (4) hvy.
Fortyscore (IRE) 8-1 (11-0) Behind, headway over 1f out, never nearer, 7th of 10, 18l behind Alphabetical Order (10-9) at Lingfield 2m mdn n h flat (6) std in Dec.
Viva Steve (IRE) 3-1 (11-4) With leader, led 3 out, headed before last, kept on and held towards finish, 2nd of 16, 1 1/2l behind If In Doubt (11-4) at Towcester 2m nov hdl (4) hvy in Jan.
Zakaroo 200-1 (10-12) Took keen hold in rear, mid-division 3rd, struggling when mistake 6th, tailed off, 16th of 20, well behind Red Devil Boys (10-12) at Doncaster 2m 3f nov hdl (4) sft in Dec.