There's little to choose between CITY THEATRE and Volador on official ratings but Jonjo O'Neill's runner is taken to steal the limelight with Anquetta best of the rest. Volador is rated 3lbs higher than the selection but has to concede 4lbs which is neither here nor there as both are open to improvement but Volador did seem well suited by the step up in trip at Wincanton (where he was value for more than the winning margin following a troubled run) and the drop back in trip could be the difference. Not only is O'Neill in good form at the moment but he also has an excellent record here and there should be more to come from City Theatre who has come to himself of late. He followed up a maiden success over hurdles with a good third to a progressive performer in a Newbury handicap and may just have the edge on his market rival. Anquetta merits respect on his hurdling bow as the form of his debut second in a Warwick bumper has worked out well whilst Baron De Doc has claims on the pick of his form but the three short-listed runners stand out in this line-up and City Theatre is taken to come out on top today.
Volador (IRE) 2-1fav (11-6) Held up in rear, raced on inside, smooth headway when not clear run on inside well before 2 out, soon challenging, led on inside 2 out, ridden and hung left before last and again flat, driven out to hold on, won at Wincanton 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) hvy in Jan beating Fredo (10-11) by 1/2l, 16 ran.
Baren De Doc (IRE) 6-5fav (11-0) Pressed leader, led 9th, headed after 3 out, beaten 2 out, 2nd of 5, 9l behind Armenian Boy (11-0) at Uttoxeter 2m 6f beg chase (4) gs in Jul.
City Theatre (IRE) 14-1 (10-13) Held up in rear, pushed along and hit 3 out, headway approaching next, chased leading pair last, kept on well flat, 3rd of 11, 1l behind Alfie Spinner (10-8) at Newbury 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-140 (2) sft in Jan.
Anquetta (IRE) 2-5fav (11-7) Tracked leaders, ridden and tried to challenge over 2f out, responded to pressure to lead inside final furlong, edged right towards finish, stayed on, won at Southwell 2m mdn nat hunt flt (4-6yo) (4) std in Jan beating Hoback Junction (11-7) by 1 1/2l, 7 ran.
Cresswell Pride 33-1 (11-4) Held up towards rear, ridden and weakened approaching 3 out, 8th of 13, 35l behind Dream Esteem (10-11) at Ffos Las 2m mdn hdl (4) gs in Jan.
Flexi Time (IRE) 40-1 (10-11) Mid-division, ridden and outpaced 2 out, never on terms, 7th of 16, 37l behind Wishfull Thinking (11-0) at Hereford 2m 4f mdn hdl (4) sft in Dec.
Magical Island 100-1 (10-8) Prominent, lost place from 4th, 11th of 16, 46l behind Wishfull Thinking (11-11) at Exeter 2m 3f nov hdl (4) gs.
Quetzal (IRE) 25-1 (10-9) Held up mid-division, weakened approaching 2 out, 7th of 14, 20l behind Robo (10-4) at Southwell 2m 4f cond nov hdl 4yo+ (4) gd in Dec.
Strumble Head (IRE) 33-1 (11-4) Chased leaders until weakened 3f out, 9th of 12, 34l behind Rock On Ruby (11-4) at Taunton 2m 1f mdn NH flat (5) gs.
U B Carefull 10-1 (10-9) Held up towards rear, ridden to chase leaders approaching 4f out, weakened over 2f out, 10th of 16, 28l behind Sherwani Wolf (11-4) at Chepstow 2m NH flat (6) sft in Nov.
Quapriland (FR) 66-1 (10-7) Held up towards rear, driven along, struggling before 3 out, 6th of 8, 30l behind Midnight Queen (10-10) at Newbury 2m 5f mares NH nov hdl (3) sft in Nov.
Gambo (IRE) Oscar gelding out of River Thyne.