Fruity O'Rooney will be forcing the pace again in this but was picked off by Pigeon Island in a veterans' race at Ascot on Sunday and is struggling to win off his current mark. He will also be taken on for the lead by Fine Parchment, though that one hasn't been getting home this season. The top weight's trainer, Gary Moore, also saddles the returning Amaury De Lusignan while Venetian Lad is a Fontwell specialist, though normally competes at a lower level. Requin is on a decent mark if he can recapture his best form while Niceonefrankie deserves a change of luck but Mortimers Cross may find this an insufficient test of stamina. MIDNIGHT SAIL found Grade 3 company too hot at Newbury last time but should hold his own here and has his favoured going. He can bounce back to winning ways with As De Fer having questions to answer at present.
Fruity O'Rooney 4-1fav (11-4) Jumped badly left 1st and next, led, headed 5th, pressed leader, led again 8th until 11th, led again 15th, driven before 2 out, headed last, stayed on same pace flat, 2nd of 13, 6l behind Pigeon Island (10-8) at Ascot 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd.
As De Fer (FR) 7-2 (11-5) Held up, headway approaching 4th, challenged 7th, led next, hedaed 9th, blundered 11th, weakened before 5 out, tailed off, 6th of 8, 49l behind Kilcrea Asla (9-12) at Chepstow 2m 3f hcp chs 0-140 (3) sft in Mar.
Midnight Sail 12-1 (10-6) Tracked leaders, jumped right 2nd and 3rd, not fluent 8th, ridden after 5 out, lost place next, pulled up after, in a race won by Pacha Du Polder (11-0) at Newbury 2m 4f hcp chs G3 (1) gd in Mar, 11 ran.
Niceonefrankie 9-2 (11-10) Led until 4th, tracked leader, ridden after 12th, 4th when hit 4 out, stayed on same pace, 5th of 8, 7l behind Cootehill (11-4) at Ludlow 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Mar.
Amaury De Lusignan (IRE) 7-2 (11-7) Led, not fluent 8th, headed 13th, chased leader until just before 3 out, chased leading pair, tired and weakened before last, lost 2 places flat, 5th of 6, 39l behind Rob Conti (10-12) at Sandown 2m 4f hcp chs 0-140 (3) gs in Nov.
Mortimers Cross 14-1 (10-7) Tracked leaders, lost place approaching 13th, mistake 5 out, modest 5th 4 out, no impression and well beaten after, tailed off, 7th of 9, well behind Michel Le Bon (11-7) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd in Mar.
Fine Parchment (IRE) 4-1 (11-4) Led, ridden and headed 4 out, weakened next, tailed off, 4th of 5, 30l behind That's The Deal (9-12) at Fakenham 3m hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Mar.
Requin (FR) 8-1 (10-10) Prominent, ridden 14th, no extra before 4 out, tailed off, 7th of 9, well behind Ballyoliver (10-10) at Ludlow 3m hcp chs 0-140 (3) gs in Feb.
Venetian Lad 5-1 (11-0) Held up towrads rear, headway approaching 3 out, led before last, kept on flat, caught post, 2nd of 10, ns behind Five Rivers (11-0) at Plumpton 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-120 (4) gd.