Nobunaga, a winner on the Flat in Ireland in 2009, caused an upset at Huntingdon last month and should run well again. Paddy Partridge is having his first start since winning a modest affair at Uttoxeter last July, however, while it was disappointing to see Mr Muddle readily brushed aside by plater Lady Willa when starting at odds-on over C&D last time. Lucky Dance was a decent handicapper on the Flat when in the mood but is jumping hurdles late in life. Finch Flyer should be winning soon but will almost certainly be seen to better effect when the ground is faster so preference here is for UNION ISLAND. He stayed on strongly to get the better of the 123-rated Beau Fighter at Plumpton in November and further improvement should be forthcoming.
Nobunaga 66-1 (11-4) Took keen hold, prominent, tracked leader after 3rd until approaching 5th, led 2 out, driven out, won at Huntingdon 2m nh nov hdl (4) gs in Jan beating Araldur (11-4) by hd, 14 ran.
Paddy Partridge 15-2 (10-10) Tracked leaders, challenged after 6th, led 3 out, not fluent next, driven and stayed on well from last, won at Uttoxeter 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Jul beating Freedom Fire (11-3) by 6l, 6 ran.
Union Island (IRE) 11-4 (10-12) Held up in touch, ridden to challenge last, kept on to lead post, won at Plumpton 2m nh nov hdl (3) sft in Nov beating Beau Fighter (10-12) by shd, 7 ran.
Alwaysonthemove 13-2 (11-3) Took keen hold, tracked leaders, mistake and lost place 3rd, close 5th when fell next, in a race won by Sire De Grugy (11-10) at Folkestone 2m 1f nov hdl (4) sft, 6 ran.
Lucky Dance (BRZ) 25-1 (8-9) Reared start, mid-division, lost place over 2f out, soon behind, last of 12, 20l behind Brick Red (8-11) at Newmarket 1m hcp 105 (2) gs in Oct (flat).
Peintre Du Roi (USA) 100-1 (10-12) Held up towards rear, hit 3rd, pushed along after 4 out, mistake 3 out, never dangerous, 9th of 15, well behind Iceman George (10-5) at Huntingdon 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Oct.
Cils Blancs (IRE) 150-1 (10-7) Always towards rear, tailed off, 19th of 22, well behind Minella Class (11-0) at Newbury 2m mdn hdl (4) gd in Dec.
Dulce Domum 150-1 (10-12) Towards rear, reminders after 6th, soon lost touch, tailed off from 8th, eased on long run to last, 7th of 12, well behind Carpincho (11-12) at Folkestone 2m 6f nh nov hdl (4) sft.
Finch Flyer (IRE) 100-1 (10-12) Tracked leaders on inside, ridden and every chance 2 out, kept on same pace approaching last, no impression flat, 4th of 11, 6l behind Kazzene (10-12) at Kempton 2m 4yo hdl (4) gs in Jan.
Mr Muddle 10-11fav (10-12) Slight lead, ridden and headed on long run before last, rallied as winner hung left flat, always held, 2nd of 7, 3l behind Lady Willa (10-2) at Folkestone 2m 1f 4yo mdn hdl (4) hvy in Jan.
Promised Wings (GER) 50-1 (10-12) Held up, took keen hold, headway 5th, weakened 3 out, tailed off, 5th of 11, well behind Whitby Jack (10-12) at Fontwell 2m 2f 4yo hdl (4) gs.