Peak Seasons latest win at Fakenham was a fluke as Benny The Swinger took the wrong course when clear of the field. The former did beat Thorncliffer, however, and should confirm running. Secret Desert scored from out of the handicap at Ayr but failed to follow-up when favourite at Hexham last time and Forever My Friend looked beaten in third when falling at Folkestone on his latest start. THE FOX'S DECREE has a poor strike rate but with doubts surrounding today's opposition, he won't have to improve much on a recent third at Newton Abbot to land this. Witch's Hat could prove best of the remaining trio.
Caulfields Venture (IRE) 66-1 (10-10) Held up behind, blundered 5 out, soon ridden and weakened, pulled up before 4 out, in a race won by Safran De Cotte (11-3) at Stratford 2m 7f Beginners Chase (0-125) (4yo+) (3) sft in Nov, 11 ran.
Chase Gate 20-1 (11-0) Towards rear, struggling 8th, soon lost touch and pulled up, in a race won by Knapp Bridge Boy (10-8) at Exeter 2m 3f hcp chs 0-110 (4) gs in Oct, 9 ran.
The Fox's Decree 6-1 (10-12) Tracked leaders, pushed along before 10th, weakened before 2 out, 5th of 6, 16l behind Tregaro (10-12) at Sedgefield 2m 4f hcp chs 0-110 (4) gd in Oct.
Forever My Friend (IRE) 15-8fav (11-12) Tracked winner, mistake 4 out, ridden in close 3rd when fell 2 out, in a race won by Thedreamstillalive (11-0) at Folkestone 2m 5f hcp chs 0-95 (5) gd in Nov, 6 ran.
Secret Desert 5-2fav (9-12) In rear, went 3rd before 2 out, ridden and outpaced before last, kept on and no impression, 4th of 5, 16l behind Shoal Bay Dreamer (9-13) at Hexham 2m 4f hcp chs 0-100 (5) sft in Nov.
Witch's Hat (IRE) 8-1 (10-0) Chased leaders, with leader 10th, mistake 3 out, weakened before 2 out, 8th of 11, well behind Like Ice (11-6) at Towcester 3m hcp ch 0-110 (4) gf in May.
Thorncliffer 8-1 (10-10) Tracked leader, challenged 3rd, led when not fluent 5th, not fluent 11th, headed before 3 out, no impression on winner from 2 out, mistake last, lost 2nd close home, 3rd of 5, 7l behind Peak Seasons (9-7) at Leicester 2m 4f cnd hcp chs (0-95) (5) gd in Nov.
Peak Seasons (IRE) 17-2 (9-4) Chased leaders until 8th, outpaced next, headway approaching last, kept on under pressure to lead post, won at Fakenham 2m cnd hcp chs (0-95) (5) gs in Nov beating Roc De Guye (10-13) by ns, 6 ran.