The race SAFRAN DE COTTE won at Stratford in November has produced a few winners and he should find this a lot easier than the handicap he contested at Doncaster last time, where he got going far too late. Henry Daly's grey is the one to beat though Abnaki can only improve with further experience and The Musical Guy ran Godsmejudge to half-a-length at Folkestone on his chasing debut, though that one was beaten by the selection earlier. High Ho Sheriff has already won twice between the flags while fences could be the making of the stoutly-built Top Dancer but Fennis Boy and Scampi Boy are returning following lengthy lay-offs.
Abnaki (IRE) 5-2 (11-0) With leader, tender to stutter into the fences until led 8th, ridden approaching 3 out, headed last, edged left and stayed on same pace flat, 2nd of 3, 2 3/4l behind One In A Milan (11-0) at Ffos Las 3m nov chs 0-125 (4) hvy.
Fennis Boy (IRE) 6-4fav (11-10) Tracked leaders, left 2nd and hampered 7th, led after 11th, jumped right last 2, stayed on well, won at Market Rasen 2m 4f beg chs (4) sft in Jul beating Lion On The Prowl (11-10) by 8l, 5 ran.
High Ho Sheriff (IRE) 7-1 (10-13) Took keen hold, went left 1st, tracked leading pair until 10th, went left and mistake 12th, dropped to last and struggling next, went poor 4th before 4 out, stayed on flat pressing for 3rd, 4th of 5, 35l behind Hawkes Point (10-13) at Exeter 3m nov chs (3) hvy.
Safran De Cotte (FR) 9-2fav (11-5) Held up, ridden when mistake 11th, well beaten 4 out, stayed on flat, never on terms, 4th of 11, 20l behind Handtheprizeover (9-8) at Doncaster 3m hcp chs 0-135 (3) sft in Dec.
Scampi Boy (IRE) 10-1 (11-4) Close up on inside, chased leaders 6th, badly hampered on inside 4 out, not recover, 14th of 23, well behind Aegean Dawn (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gs in Nov '10.
The Musical Guy (IRE) 9-1 (11-1) Towards rear, headway approaching 12th, driven along in 5th after 3 out, went 3rd 2 out, soon hung right, went 2nd last, closed on winner near finish, always just held, 2nd of 11, 1/2l behind Godsmejudge (11-1) at Folkestone 3m 1f beg chs (4) gd in Dec.
Top Dancer (FR) 14-1 (11-1) Towards rear, pushed along and headway approaching 3 out, weakened soon after, 9th of 13, 26l behind De La Bech (11-12) at Ascot 3m nov hcp hdl 0-120 (4) hvy in Dec.