FORTY FIVE isn't an easy ride but is undoubtedly well handicapped nowadays and went very close at Leicester on his latest outing. The 10-year-old has run well in both previous appearances at this track and, with the easier ground today in his favour, is fancied to end his frustrating run of placed efforts. Cottage Acre has winning form at a higher level and it would be no surprise to see him bounce back from recent disappointments while Autumm Spirit beat Akarshan at Leicester last March and went on to record victories at Towcester and Huntingdon, though Evan Williams' charge is much better off at the weights now. Mud Monkey and Scoter Fontaine may need a confidence-booster.
Benartic (IRE) 4-1 (10-12) Mostly tracked winner from after 2nd, jumped left 6th, led briefly after 13th, about 1 1/2 lengths down when slipped approaching 4 out, not recover, 2nd of 3, 7l behind Othermix (10-12) at Ludlow 2m 4f nov chs (3) gd in Apr.
Mud Monkey 11-1 (11-10) Led, awkward 5th, headed approaching 11th, chased leaders until weakened before and mistake 3 out, pulled up soon after, in a race won by Rigadin De Beauchene (10-5) at Hereford 2m 5f hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Dec, 11 ran.
Cottage Acre (IRE) 12-1 (10-13) Chased leader until 3rd, chased leaders until weakened 4 out, tailed off, 7th of 13, well behind That'lldoboy (10-5) at Newbury 2m 6f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in Nov.
Scoter Fontaine (FR) 20-1 (10-8) Towards rear when mistake and unseated rider 5th, in a race won by Our Mick (11-8) at Kempton 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Dec, 13 ran.
Autumm Spirit 6-1 (11-8) Led, ridden between last 2, about 4 lengths ahead and staying on when went left and fell last, in a race won by Loch Ba (11-2) at Kempton 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-110 (4) gd in Oct, 8 ran.
Akarshan (IRE) 13-8fav (11-0) Tracked leading pair, went 2nd 8th, stayed on to lead last, ridden 3 lengths clear flat, headed and no extra near finish, 2nd of 5, nk behind Pyracantha (11-12) at Market Rasen 2m 4f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gf in Apr.
Forty Five (IRE) 8-1 (11-1) Tracked leaders, led 3 out, hard pressed last, ridden and headed narrowly flat, kept on, 2nd of 14, nk behind Cootehill (11-12) at Leicester 2m 4f hcp chs 0-120 (4) gd in Dec.
Stormhoek (IRE) 33-1 (11-0) Prominent, led 9th, headed 3 out, soon rallied, weakened after next, 8th of 14, 39l behind Water Garden (11-2) at Ascot 3m nov hcp hdl 0-120 (4) sft in Dec.