Battle Group won over hurdles and fences at Aintree last month but now competes off a 15lb higher mark and has his work cut out here confirming the first of those runs with Jetson. Cheltenham third Cucumber Run must have a chance but Cross Kennon has been struggling lately while stablemate Barafundle, along with First Fandango and Hollow Tree, finished behind Battle Group and Jetson at Aintree. MONETARY FUND's form ties in closely with a few of these but he went down with all guns blazing at Chepstow last month and deserves to win a decent prize. He gets the nod as formerly useful Flat stayer Darley Sun is on a stiff mark for his handicap debut over timber and Midnight Appeal needs to step up on his novice form to figure. Weekend Millionair and the lightly-weighted Whisky Yankee may be best of the rest.
Fox Appeal (IRE) 12-1 (11-0) Tracked leading pair, driven and outpaced when switched right towards stands side rail after 3 out, 3 length down in 3rd when blundered next, went 2nd briefly last, no chance with easy winner, 3rd of 4, 12l behind Big Buck's (11-8) at Newbury 3m hdl G2 (1) sft in Dec.
Battle Group 7-2fav (10-9) Held up mid-division, headway 6 out, went 3rd before 4 out, went 2nd 3 out, led 2 out, clear before last, ran on strongly, won at Aintree 3m 1f lstd hcp chs (1) gd in Apr beating Mac Aeda (10-4) by 16l, 18 ran.
Black Thunder (FR) 8-1 (11-7) Mid-division, outpaced 6th, plugged on again approaching last, never a threat, 5th of 18, 17l behind Stopped Out (10-13) at Sandown 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-145 (2) gd in Apr.
Cucumber Run (IRE) 20-1 (11-7) Mid-division, headway approaching 2 out, pressed for 2nd flat, stayed on, no impression on winner, 3rd of 17, 4 1/2l behind Party Rock (10-1) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) gs in Apr.
Jetson (IRE) 8-1fav (11-7) Tracked leaders, mistake 2nd, every chance 3 out, 2nd but no impression on winner from 2 out, stayed on, 2nd of 21, 10l behind Battle Group (10-9) at Aintree 3m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gd in Apr.
First Fandango 33-1 (11-2) Held up towards rear, not clear run after 4 out, ridden and headway approaching 3 out, went 3rd last, stayed on, 3rd of 21, 13l behind Battle Group (10-9) at Aintree 3m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gd in Apr.
Araldur (FR) 2-1fav (11-12) Mid-division, closed 4th, challenged 3 out, led after 2 out, went slightly left start, driven out, won at Chepstow 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Apr beating Bravo Bravo (9-8) by nk, 9 ran.
Cross Kennon (IRE) 11-1 (11-12) Tracked leaders, ridden after 7th, weakened before 3 out, 7th of 9, 37l behind Connectivity (10-5) at Chepstow 3m hcp hdl (2) gd in Apr.
Barafundle (IRE) 11-1 (11-7) Prominent on outside, jumped left 7th, led before next, headed 9th, no extra last, 10th of 21, 27l behind Battle Group (10-9) at Aintree 3m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gd in Apr.
Double Ross (IRE) 16-1 (11-6) Tracked leaders, weakened before 4 out, pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Battle Group (10-9) at Aintree 3m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gd in Apr, 21 ran.
Kells Belle (IRE) 6-1 (11-10) Mid-division, mostly raced wide, not fluent and lost place 3 out, soon well beaten, stayed on flat, no impression, 7th of 16, 21l behind Big Time Billy (9-13) at Cheltenham 2m 5f mrs lst hdl (1) gs in Apr.
Pateese (FR) 3-1 (10-12) Held up 5th, went 4th at 8th, left 4 lengths 3rd 2 out, closed last, strong run between horses flat to lead final 50 yards and idled near finish, just held on, won at Ffos Las 3m nov chs (4) sft in Apr beating Benheir (11-5) by shd, 6 ran.
Darley Sun (IRE) 2-1 (11-0) Held up mid-division, headway before 2 out, led before last, hard held, won at Stratford 2m 6f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Apr beating Houndscourt (11-0) by 2 1/4l, 9 ran.
Weekend Millionair (IRE) 13-2 (11-3) Held up in rear, mistake 3rd, headway 3 out, 4th and one pace last, 4th of 9, 6l behind Connectivity (10-5) at Chepstow 3m hcp hdl (2) gd in Apr.
Orsippus (USA) 18-1 (11-7) Made all, ridden before last, held on well, won at Ayr 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-155 (2) gd in Apr beating Green Flag (11-0) by nk, 10 ran.
Midnight Appeal 8-11fav (11-6) Tracked leading pair, went 2nd 5th, led 2 out, in command last, kept on well flat, won at Plumpton 2m 5f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Apr beating Kaysersberg (11-6) by 4 1/2l, 8 ran.
Monetary Fund (USA) 8-1 (10-12) Mid-division, headway approaching 3 out, challenged 2 out, led flat, headed close home, 2nd of 9, hd behind Connectivity (10-5) at Chepstow 3m hcp hdl (2) gd in Apr.
Hollow Tree 33-1 (11-2) Prominent, not much room and led after 4 out, headed 3 out, weakened flat, 8th of 21, 25l behind Battle Group (10-9) at Aintree 3m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gd in Apr.
Whisky Yankee (IRE) 13-8fav (11-0) Held up towards rear, headway 6th, led before last, soon clear, won at Ffos Las 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Apr beating Bally Rone (10-12) by 7l, 6 ran.
Art Professor (IRE) 20-1 (11-1) Soon mid-division, progress 5 out, kept on same pace from 2 out, 9th of 22, 11l behind The Paparrazi Kid (10-10) at Punchestown 2m 4f hcp hdl hvy in Apr.