Alan Blackmore has a good strike rate at Fakenham but his Monroe Park was beaten in a seller at Worcester on his latest start and faces a tough task off level weights against MUSH MIR. Nicky Henderson's four-year-old, successful four times on the all-weather, was a smooth winner on his hurdles debut over this trip at Bangor and is the type to run up a sequence before some of the better novices appear. Russian Flag has won five times over fences but hasn't raced since April and may be treating this as a pipe-opener.
Monroe Park (IRE) 20-1 (10-2) Mid-division, headway and in touch 4 out, soon challenged, led 2 out, ridden and hung left after last, continued to hang left towards far side rail and headed flat, no extra, 2nd of 15, 5l behind American Art (10-12) at Worcester 2m 4f clm hdl (5) gd in Aug.
Mush Mir (IRE) 1-3fav (10-11) Led, blundered 4th, joined when hung left from 4 out, headed before next, soon ridden, 2 lengths down when switched right and hit 2 out, stayed on to regain lead last, drew clear flat, won at Bangor 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Sep beating Tom Wade (10-11) by 6l, 6 ran.
Black Cache (IRE) 28-1 (11-4) Took keen hold, led, headed over 2f out, weakened over 1f out, 6th of 14, 29l behind Royal Guardsman (10-12) at Fontwell 2m 2f NH flat (6) gd in Apr.
Lieutenant Dan (IRE) 8-1 (10-9) Tracked leader and keen, ran wide on stable bend and dropped rear, ridden to challenge over 3f out, chased winner from over 2f out, one pace and no impression, 2nd of 3, 8l behind Oscar Sunset (11-2) at Ludlow 2m nhf (5) gf.
Russian Flag (FR) 20-1 (11-2) Held up in last pair, last and struggling 8th, tailed off, last of 6, 37l behind French Opera (11-2) at Sandown 2m chs G2 (1) gf in Apr.