GREEN BELT ELITE landed a few tasty bets at Taunton and he can follow up at the principal expense of Sam Lord and Shali San. Venetia Williams' stable continue in good form and the five-year-old, who is quickly turned out under a penalty, could conceivably turn out to be far better than his current rating suggests. Were this to be the case, a 7lb penalty should not stop him. Sam Lord is 0 from 10 over hurdles. He does not appear ungenuine though his hurdling technique has previously gone to pieces when put under pressure. Shali San arguably should have won at Chepstow before a poor jump handed the initiative to her rival. That said, the going was notably testing on that occasion and it will be interesting to see what the market suggests on the switch to these very different conditions. Smoothly Does It seems to have been around for ages but is now 1lb below his last winning mark. Major Miller has been a bitter disappointment so far and the headgear is reached for in a last ditch attempt to unlock some of his potential. It would be no surprise to see a good run from Spanish Conquest this afternoon. The former Sir Mark Prescott inmate has had three runs on soft going and as a winner on the polytrack when trained on the level; there can be few excuses this afternoon on handicap debut. Cockatoo is entitled to need this following a year off the track. Sumdancer is best of the rest. Green Belt Elite is accordingly nominated.
Sam Lord 7-2 (11-8) Held up in rear, pulled hard, not fluent 5th, headway approaching 3 out, stayed on same pace flat, no impression on winner, 2nd of 10, 4 1/2l behind Orpen Wide (11-7) at Huntingdon 2m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gd.
Smoothly Does It 20-1 (11-8) Chased leaders, ridden 5th, lost place after next, one pace and beaten after, 6th of 11, 15l behind Bugsy's Boy (11-10) at Plumpton 2m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) sft in Feb.
Shali San (FR) 2-1fav (11-6) Held up, smooth headway after 4 out, ridden to lead 2 out, mistake last, soon headed, not recover, 2nd of 10, 2 1/2l behind Mae Cigan (11-9) at Chepstow 2m nov hcp hdl 0-110 (4) sft in Feb.
Cockatoo (USA) 15-2 (11-6) Close up, struggling 4th, behind after 3 out, stayed on after 2 out, went 3rd near finish, 3rd of 11, 6l behind Noble Raider (11-3) at Sandown 2m cnd hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gd in Feb '08.
Major Miller 7-1 (11-2) Soon chased leaders, ridden after 3 out, soon weakened and eased before next, 14th of 19, 37l behind Cathedral Rock (11-10) at Sandown 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gs in Feb.
Green Belt Elite (FR) 11-4fav (11-12) Mid-division, headway 4th, led 7th, clear last, comfortably, won at Taunton 2m 3f nov hcp hdl 0-100 (4) sft beating Anay Turge (9-11) by 8l, 11 ran.
Maxwil 6-1 (10-12) Mid-division, some headway 5th, ridden and weakened next, behind and pulled up at the last in race won by Starluck (11-5) at Fakenham 2m 3yo nov hdl (4) gs in Nov, 13 ran.
Sumdancer (NZ) 6-1 (10-6) Chased leaders in 4th, tracked leading pair 7th, led approaching 4 out, driven and headed 2 out, weakened and lost 2 places flat, 4th of 8, 6l behind Russian Flag (11-5) at Plumpton 2m 1f hcp chs 0-110 (4) gs.
Spanish Conquest 100-1 (10-13) Chased leaders, ridden after 3 out, soon weakened, 9th of 16, 33l behind Ainama (11-4) at Kempton 2m nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Hatch A Plan (IRE) 8-1 (10-13) Held up in mid-division, ridden, effort approaching 2 out, ran on from last, 4th of 9, 1 1/2l behind John Charles (11-5) at Wincanton 2m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gf in Apr '07.