Just the six runners for this handicap chase over a stamina sapping 3m5f and of them we like TANK BUSTER who can take this from Fourpointone and Teenando. The selection has been off the track since landing a handicap chase for Tim Vaughan back in June and whilst it is a slight concern that he's since left the Welsh handler there can be no doubting the emphatic nature of that win and, just 5lbs higher today, the nine-year-old has rock solid credentials having run well when back from a break previously. The gelding has won on ground described as soft as well as good and so whatever the weather brings we can be confident this horse will cope and he rates a solid betting proposition. The main dangers in the line-up look to be well handicapped horses who have been out of form and selecting the best of them is difficult, but we'll put Fourpointone forward as the most likely challenger. Michael Scudamore's gelding is back down to his last winning mark and although that decisive success back in the spring came on much livelier ground the eight-year-old had previously scored on soft at Warwick off just a pound lower than today's rating so must be respected. The horse needs a trip and so will relish the extra three furlongs he has here and will doubtless be staying on for pressure when others have cried enough. Teenando is another who looks feasibly weighted having been dropped a couple of pounds since his last run but it is a concern that all of the geldings wins have come at Carlisle and so perhaps a supporting role is the best Sue Smith's runner can hope for. In a race where all six have some sort of chance Carryduff may be the next best, now 3lbs lower than when winning at Towcester back in 2008. It is questionable whether the horse remains up to winning off a mark of 96 though and despite Graham Lee's assistance in the saddle he is passed over, as is Anglican who is yet to win since arriving from France. Plenty of possible winners but the one with the least questions to answer is Tank Buster and he gets the vote.
Tank Buster 4-1fav (10-10) Tracked leaders, led 9th, stayed on well from 2 out, ridden out, won at Newton Abbot 3m 2f hcp ch 0-95 (5) gd in Jun beating Choumakeur (11-0) by 4l, 14 ran.
And Whatever Else (IRE) 16-1 (11-3) Held up, fell 11th, in a race won by Treehouse (9-12) at Carlisle 3m 2f hcp chs 0-105 (4) sft in Nov, 10 ran.
Teenando (IRE) 13-2 (11-0) Prominent, weakened from 5 out, 7th of 9, well behind Dark Ben (10-7) at Newcastle 3m hcp chs 0-110 (4) gs in Nov.
Carryduff 8-1 (10-5) Held up in rear, outpaced 4 out, never dangerous, 4th of 8, 48l behind Lorum Leader (11-5) at Market Rasen 3m 1f hcp chs 0-120 (3) hvy in Nov.
Anglican (FR) 7-1 (10-12) Pressed leader to 3rd, bumped next, not fluent 6th, lost place 8th, struggling when mistake next, no impression after, 5th of 11, 12l behind Loom (10-12) at Uttoxeter 2m 6f sll hdl (4-8yo) (5) hvy in Nov.
Fourpointone 6-1 (11-6) Held up in touch, outpaced 13th, no danger after, 4th of 8, 15l behind Overton Lad (10-0) at Warwick 3m 2f hcp chs 0-100 (4) gd in Nov.