Simonsig's defection has taken much of the gloss off this Grade 2 as stablemates Tanks For That and French Opera aren't in the same league as the grey, though the latter did win this two years ago. Stagecoach Pearl and Pigeon Island appear to have a bit to find at the weights while Majala steps out of novice company but has a first preference at Warwick today. Ruby Walsh has chosen the much-improved Shooters Wood ahead of EDGARDO SOL but that's allowed A P McCoy to pick up the ride on the Nicholls' versatile six-year-old, who hasn't done a lot wrong over fences or hurdles this season. If he can recapture the form he showed at Aintree last April, he could be the one to beat as Wishfull Thinking disappointed at Kempton over Christmas after winning a minor contest at Cheltenham.
Edgardo Sol (FR) 11-1 (11-12) Settled off leaders in 3rd, ridden and no impression 2 out, kept on one pace, 3rd of 5, 18l behind Sizing Europe (11-12) at Leopardstown 2m 1f Grade 1 chs (1) sft in Dec.
Wishfull Thinking 15-8 (11-6) Prominent, not fluent 1st or 4th, led after 4 out, ridden and headed approaching 2 out, weakened before last, 4th of 5, 33l behind Sanctuaire (11-10) at Kempton 2m Grade 2 chs (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec.
Shooters Wood (IRE) 11-4fav (10-1) Led, joined 5 out, 5 lengths clear 2 out, ridden and hard pressed after last, headed narrowly flat, rallied to regain lead towards finish, won at Cheltenham 2m hcp chs (2) hvy in Dec beating His Excellency (10-9) by 1 1/4l, 7 ran.
Stagecoach Pearl 2-1fav (11-10) Led, mistake 3rd, ridden approaching last (usual 3 out), headed soon after, weakened on long flat, last of 6, 45l behind Idarah (10-11) at Kelso 2m 1f hcp chs (2) sft in Nov.
Tanks For That (IRE) 8-1 (11-12) Held up in last pair, weakened and pulled up before 2 out (usual 3 out), in a race won by William's Wishes (10-6) at Ascot 2m 1f hcp chs (2) hvy in Nov, 7 ran.
Majala (FR) 5-2 (11-3) With leader, led 3rd, mistake 4 out, challenged 2 out, ran on strongly (one fence omitted), won at Haydock 2m nov chs (2) hvy in Dec beating Ohio Gold (10-12) by 8l, 5 ran.
French Opera 11-2 (11-0) Raced wide, tracked leader, not fluent 3rd, lost place 12th, weakened 4 out, 4th of 5, 27l behind Menorah (11-5) at Kempton 2m 4f Grade 2 chs (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec.
Pigeon Island 4-1 (11-1) Chased leaders, slow 9th, driven to challenge 4 out, soon outpaced, rallied last, kept on well, 3rd of 6, 13l behind Dashing George (10-6) at Sandown 2m 4f hcp chs 0-145 (2) hvy.