UNE ARTISTE just failed to add to her Huntingdon success when only beaten a head in a Grade 2 contest at Thurles last month. With her mares' allowance, she'll be tough to beat today though Batonnier is a very interesting rival as he won a Grade 2 over hurdles a couple of years ago and will be all the better for his comeback run at Newbury. Shangani has been done no favours by the race conditions but should still finish ahead of the apparently outclassed Cnoc Seoda.
Shangani (USA) 11-2 (10-4) Mid-division, close up 6th, ridden after 14th, kept on and every chance 2 out, no extra between last 2, weakening when mistake last, 5th of 10, 20l behind Wishfull Thinking (11-12) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) hvy in Jan.
Cnoc Seoda (IRE) 12-1 (11-1) Behind, mistake 16th, pulled up before next, in a race won by Flying Award (10-13) at Wincanton 3m 3f hcp chs 0-130 (3) hvy in Jan, 9 ran.
Batonnier (FR) 10-1 (11-1) Took keen hold in mid-division on inside, pushed along one pace and no impression from 2 out, 7th of 17, 15l behind Vendor (10-12) at Newbury 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-150 (2) sft in Nov.
Une Artiste (FR) 6-5fav (11-0) Soon chased leaders, 5th halfway, ridden in 3rd after 3 out, stayed on to challenge after 2 out, narrow lead before last, disputed run-in, just failed at line, 2nd of 11, ns behind Byerley Babe (11-0) at Thurles 2m 4f (1) sft in Jan.