Bally Legend, Karky Schultz and Pateese all come here off the back of recent wins. The latter is the least exposed of that trio and probably the more interesting today, though the form of Ffos Las win hasn't been franked. European Dream returned to form with a second at Musselburgh but Sire Collonges was easy to back and didn't show a lot on his reappearance at Ascot, though still has time on his side. Ellerslie Tom returns from a long absence but is still preferred to Alison Thorpe's other runner, King's Realm, who is 7lb wrong in the weights. Zafranagar disappointed at Kempton and also has a bit to find on these terms so the vote goes to VIA GALILEI, who is weighted to reverse Taunton running with Karky Schultz and could benefit from Jamie Moore's stronger handling.
Puyol (IRE) 16-1 (11-2) Raced in rear, headway halfway, pushed along 7th, soon weakened, behind when pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Quartz De Thaix (11-12) at Aintree 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) sft in Nov, 11 ran.
Ellerslie Tom 4-6fav (10-12) Made all, jumped well, ridden approaching last, stayed on gamely, won at Sedgefield 2m nov chs (4) gf in May beating Financialregulator (10-12) by 1 1/2l, 3 ran.
Bally Legend 6-1 (11-4) Chased leaders, led 5th, made rest, in command from 2 out, came clear before last, eased towards finish, won at Ludlow 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gs in Feb beating Tom O'Tara (10-6) by 13l, 10 ran.
Karky Schultz (GER) 14-1 (11-1) With leader, led approaching 5th, ridden after 3 out, headed approaching 2 out, hard ridden after last, kept on gamely to regain lead towards finish, won at Taunton 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Feb beating Via Galilei (10-5) by nk, 14 ran.
Meridian City (IRE) 2-5fav (11-8) Tracked leaders, chased leader after 4 out, with winner and every chance next, soon lost action, 2nd when pulled up soon after 2 out, dismounted, in a race won by Oscar Honey (11-1) at Ayr 2m 4f nov hdl (4) gs in Mar '10, 13 ran.
Sire Collonges (FR) 8-1 (10-4) In rear until some headway 3 out, never dangerous, 9th of 14, 33l behind Tiger O'Toole (10-5) at Ascot 2m 3f hcp hdl G2 (1) gs in Jan.
European Dream (IRE) 10-1 (10-10) Held up towards rear, headway after 4 out, in 5th approaching 3 out, chased leading pair before last, went 2nd flat, kept on, no impression on winner, 2nd of 13, 5l behind Hunterview (11-3) at Musselburgh 2m hcp hdl 0-145 (2) sft in Feb.
Made In Time (IRE) 10-3 (11-8) Mid-division, jumped big 2nd, headway 3 out, outpaced when hit next, soon weakened, 5th of 17, 29l behind Chablais (11-2) at Kempton 2m 5f nh nov hdl (3) gs in Jan.
All For Free (IRE) 66-1 (9-7) Raced wide in touch, hit 4th, slow 6th, ridden and outpaced next, no chance after, last of 7, 11l behind Ciceron (10-3) at Taunton 2m 1f hcp hdl (2) sft in Feb.
Via Galilei (IRE) 7-1 (10-5) Held up towards rear, headway 6th, soon chasing leaders, led approaching and hit 2 out, hard ridden after last, kept on and headed towards finish, 2nd of 14, nk behind Karky Schultz (11-1) at Taunton 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Feb.
Ned Ludd (IRE) 25-1 (10-11) Tracked leaders on outside, outpaced 2 out, soon ridden and lost place, weakened before last, 15th of 17, well behind L'Accordioniste (11-9) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in Dec.
Pateese (FR) 6-4fav (11-4) Left 2nd at 2nd, left in lead soon after, made rest, clear before 2 out, stayed on strongly, won at Ffos Las 2m mdn hdl (4) sft in Jan beating Ballinteni (11-4) by 4l, 14 ran.
King's Revenge 12-1 (11-3) Held up towards rear, pushed along before 5th, weakened next, tailed off 3 out, 8th of 14, 43l behind Karky Schultz (11-1) at Taunton 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Feb.
Zafranagar (IRE) 15-2 (11-4) Held up towards rear, steady headway 3 out, pushed along in 6th before 2 out, plugged on from last, no threat to leaders, 5th of 14, 19l behind Balerina (10-2) at Kempton 2m cond hcp hdl 0-1115 (4) gs in Feb.
King's Realm (IRE) 28-1 (10-0) Prominent, went 3rd before 3 out, driven before next, stayed on from last to well held 2nd final 100 yards, no chance with winner, 2nd of 14, 12l behind Paintball (10-7) at Ludlow 2m mdn hdl (5) gs in Feb.