A tricky opener as most of these would have some sort of chance on their best form. Escort'men was due to run at Warwick yesterday, however, while Lucy's Legend has struggled since being upped in grade. Storming Gale is gradually getting his act together and was beaten less than two lengths over 3m here last time while Milarrow was second over course and distance on Boxing Day and filled the same spot behind Politeo at Wincanton. Mickelson is still a maiden over fences but was a decent hurdler and can't be ignored, though we prefer LEXICON LAD. He's well treated on his defeat of Loch Ba at Warwick last season and the heavy ground was to blame for him being pulled up last time at Cheltenham. Stablemate Triangular is preferred to Ludlow winner Filbert and Midnight Sail of the others.
Filbert (IRE) 7-1 (11-0) Held up in mid-division, headway 7th, went 3rd going well after 8th, challenged 4 out, led next, driven and stayed on well flat, won at Ludlow 2m nov chs 0-125 (4) sft in Jan beating Sustainability (11-0) by 1 1/4l, 11 ran.
Escort'men (FR) 28-1 (10-0) Behind, mistake 11th, headway before 2 out, stayed on towards finish, 3rd of 7, 10l behind Molotof (11-0) at Warwick 2m 4f hcp chs (2) hvy.
Midnight Sail 3-1 (11-11) Held up tracking leaders on inside, mistake 10th, ridden and no impression in 4th place 4 out, beaten when went right next, 4th of 6, 28l behind Simply Wings (11-3) at Plumpton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-130 (3) hvy in Jan.
Triangular (USA) 9-1 (11-11) Held up towards rear, headway before 10th, went 4th 5 out, one pace, 4th of 8, 16l behind The Chazer (11-2) at Doncaster 2m 3f hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft.
Storming Gale (IRE) 40-1 (10-11) Held up in last trio, headway 12th, went 3rd 4 out, went 2nd before 3 out, challenged 3 out, soon led, ridden before last, joined and hit last, headed and unable to quicken flat, lost 2nd close home, 3rd of 10, 1 1/2l behind Prince Of Pirates (11-10) at Kempton 3m hcp chs 0-140 (3) gs.
Mickelson (IRE) 6-1 (11-5) Held up in rear, headway over 2f out, led approaching 1f out, soon headed, no extra, 2nd of 11, 2 1/2l behind Dr Livingstone (11-5) at Lingfield 2m n h flat (4) std in Jan.
Milarrow (IRE) 8-1 (10-8) Tracked leaders, went 2nd after 12th, led approaching 2 out, headed before last, one pace, 2nd of 8, 8l behind Politeo (10-8) at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp chs 0-140 (3) hvy in Jan.
Lexicon Lad (IRE) 15-2 (11-6) Towards rear, struggling 12th, tailed off when pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Plein Pouvoir (11-4) at Cheltenham 2m 5f cond hcp chs (4yo+) (3) sft in Dec, 12 ran.
Lucy's Legend (IRE) 8-1 (10-9) Chased leading pair until 5th, lost 4th and weakened 6th, 5th of 7, 23l behind Nozic (10-10) at Kempton 2m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs.