There's not much between the recent winners. The consistent Bussa carries a penalty for his latest win at Wolverhampton and Diplomatic won over a mile here last time though he's a course and distance winner and should be thereabouts again. However, GOLDEN DESERT scored over track and trip last month with a subsequent winner back in fourth and Simon Dow's charge gets the nod to follow up. Russian Ice has been threatening to get his head back in front of late but The Strig has so far proved best over shorter trips.
Scottish Lake 25-1 (9-0) Chased leaders, pushed along over 2f out, faded final furlong, 8th of 10, 7l behind Light From Mars (9-2) at Kempton 7f hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Jan.
Quasi Congaree (GER) 33-1 (9-0) Chased leaders, ridden over 2f out, soon weakened, last of 8, 14l behind Cut Across (8-13) at Lingfield 7f hcp 0-85 (4) pol in Dec.
The Strig 7-4 (9-7) Awkwardly away, soon outpaced in rear, ridden to chase leaders over 1f out, stayed on to take 3rd well inside final furlong, no impression with front pair, 3rd of 4, 4 1/2l behind Picansort (9-5) at Lingfield 5f hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Jan.
Russian Ice 3-1 (9-5) Hampered start, held up in rear, headway over 1f out, every chance inside final furlong, no extra close home, 2nd of 6, 1 1/4l behind Compton Rainbow (8-9) at Kempton 7f fll hcp (0-75) (5) pol in Jan.
Avonmore Star 6-1 (9-1) Tracked leaders, ridden over 1f out, weakened final furlong, 7th of 9, 6l behind Balti's Sister (9-6) at Lingfield 7f hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Jan.
Perfect Mission 7-2 (9-0) Tracked leader, driven 2f out, ridden and lost place inside final furlong, no extra, 6th of 7, 2 3/4l behind Storm Runner (9-1) at Lingfield 1m hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Jan.
Jake The Snake (IRE) 20-1 (9-4) In rear, headway over 1f out, ridden to press winner inside final furlong, ran on, always looked held, 2nd of 11, nk behind Captain Kendall (9-5) at Kempton 6f hacp 0-70 (5) pol.
Bussa 3-1fav (9-6) Chased leaders, went 2nd over 1f out, carried right, stayed on well to lead close home, won at Wolverhampton 7f hcp 0-65 (6) pol beating Haywain (9-6) by hd, 10 ran.
Diplomatic (IRE) 9-2 (8-7) Mid-division, headway to chase leaders over 1f out, ridden to lead inside final furlong, held on well, won at Kempton 1m hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Jan beating Kindia (9-4) by nk, 11 ran.
Golden Desert (IRE) 3-1 (9-4) Last to break, held up, headway over 1f out, ran on inside final furlong, led towards finish, won at Kempton 7f hacp 0-70 (5) pol in Jan beating West Leake (8-9) by 3/4l, 7 ran.
Elusive Hawk (IRE) 7-1 (9-3) Led, ridden 3f out, headed over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, last of 7, 10l behind Strike Force (9-2) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp 0-75 (5) pol.
Chevise (IRE) 8-1 (9-0) Pressed leader, lost place over 2f out, weakened final furlong, last of 7, 9l behind Fairyinthewind (9-3) at Lingfield 1m fll hcp (0-75) (3yo+) (5) pol in Dec.
Ted's Brother (IRE) 7-1 (11-0) In touch, ridden over 1f out, kept on same pace inside final furlong, 5th of 17, 9l behind Desert Creek (11-3) at Leicester 7f am hcp 0-70 (5) sft in Oct.
Dunn'o (IRE) 9-2 (8-10) Led, ridden 2f out, headed inside final furlong, no extra near finish, 5th of 6, 2 1/2l behind Jack My Boy (9-0) at Lingfield 7f app hcp (0-70) (4yo+) (5) pol in Jan.