NIBANI has been in consistently good form of late and won over 1m2f here last time. He always looked to have the measure of Focal Maith on that occasion despite the narrow winning margin and Alastair Lidderdale's charge can go in again. Shabak Hom usually runs his race although it hasn't been good enough in recent claimers, while Hurricane Hymnbook's 9lb rise for November's win at Lingfield is proving to be harsh. Mataajir steps up in class and distance but could prove a bigger threat as he has more scope for improvement.
Nibani (IRE) 5-2fav (8-13) Slowly into stride, held up in rear, headway on outside over 2f out, edged right from over 1f out, closed over 1f out, ran on to lead well inside final furlong, won at Kempton 1m 2f hcp 0-75 (5) pol beating Focail Maith (9-3) by 1/2l, 9 ran.
Shabak Hom (IRE) 15-2 (9-1) Dwelt, behind, headway under pressure well over 1f out, ran on inside final furlong, never reached winner, 2nd of 7, 1 1/2l behind Aviso (8-2) at Lingfield 1m 2f clm stks (6) pol.
Focail Maith 9-2 (9-3) Always prominent, went 2nd over 2f out, ridden to lead 1f out, headed well inside final furlong, 2nd of 9, 1/2l behind Nibani (8-13) at Kempton 1m 2f hcp 0-75 (5) pol.
Hurricane Hymnbook (USA) 8-1 (9-1) Held up in 9th, headway over 1f out, edging right when not clear run and switched left inside final furlong, stayed on, 4th of 12, 3l behind Sakhee's Pearl (9-6) at Kempton 1m 2f hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Dec.
Bennelong 12-1 (9-5) In touch in rear, ridden and headway over 1f out, kept on inside final furlong, 4th of 10, 5l behind Kames Park (8-13) at Lingfield 1m 4f app hcp 0-70 (5) pol in Dec.
Ostentation 4-1 (9-5) Led 1f, chased leader after, every chance over 2f out, weakened over 1f out, eased final furlong, 5th of 7, 15l behind Xpres Maite (9-4) at Southwell 1m 3f hcp 0-75 (5) fbs in Dec.
If You Whisper (IRE) 11-1 (9-4) Towards rear, some late headway, never nearer, 6th of 11, 8l behind Spes Nostra (9-3) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp 0-70 (5) pol in Dec.
Mataajir (USA) Evensfav (9-7) Led, ridden 2f out, narrowly headed 1f out, stayed challenging, rallied close home, just held, 2nd of 11, hd behind Aviso (8-13) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp 0-68 (6) pol.