Richard Lee thinks he has a decent novice on his hands in MOUNTAINOUS and this mud-lover, who galloped his rivals silly at Chepstow last month, can make a winning handicap debut over fences. Richard's Sundance could be a dangerous opponent if he gets into a rhythm but Time For Spring and Loch Ba are possibly in the handicapper's grip and Monkerty Tunkerty was raised 7lb for winning at Wincanton and will face stiff competition for the lead here. Thanks For Coming has his stamina to prove but Philip Hobbs' pair, Allthekingshorses and Fighting Flynn, are worth a second look and make more appeal than Ringa Bay, Iona Days and Goring One in this grade. Barlow looks best of the rest.
Time For Spring (IRE) 10-1 (10-13) Towards rear, pushed along before 12th, weakened before 5 out, 11th of 16, well behind Court By Surprise (10-10) at Doncaster 3m hcp chs 0-150 (2) gs in Dec.
Mountainous (IRE) 5-2fav (10-10) Held up in touch, headway to join leader 13th, led 3 out, stayed on well, won at Chepstow 3m beg chs (3) hvy in Dec beating Maringo Bay (11-1) by 6l, 5 ran.
Monkerty Tunkerty 9-4fav (11-11) Tracked leaders, led 3 out, stayed on well, won at Wincanton 3m 1f hcp chs 0-125 (3) hvy in Dec beating Ballyallia Man (11-9) by 6l, 5 ran.
Richard's Sundance (IRE) 14-1 (11-10) Led until 4 out, mistake and no extra 2 out, 5th of 11, 22l behind Handtheprizeover (9-8) at Doncaster 3m hcp chs 0-135 (3) sft in Dec.
Thanks For Coming 7-2fav (11-10) Tracked leader, close up when blundered 13th, led 3 out, headed before last, kept on and held towards finish, 2nd of 7, 2 1/4l behind Johns Spirit (11-12) at Sandown 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) sft in Dec.
Loch Ba (IRE) 9-4fav (10-13) Mostly tracked leader, not fluent 5 out, every chance before last, stayed on, unable to get back to winner flat, 2nd of 9, 1/2l behind The Rainbow Hunter (11-12) at Ascot 3m hcp chs 0-135 (3) sft in Nov.
Allthekingshorses (IRE) 11-2 (11-10) Held up towards rear on outside, mistake 9th, headway and in touch 12th, 3rd and every chance 4 out, went 2nd after next, soon no chance with easy winner, 2nd of 9, 16l behind Tour Des Champs (11-10) at Ludlow 3m hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Dec.
Barlow (IRE) 4-1 (11-1) Led, jumped left 7th, blundered 13th, joined 2 out, headed approaching last, lost 2nd last, kept on same pace flat, 3rd of 11, 1 3/4l behind Godsmejudge (11-1) at Folkestone 3m 1f beg chs (4) gd in Dec.
Fighting Flynn (IRE) 5-2fav (11-0) Held up in touch, not fluent 1st, ridden before 8th, soon lost place, well behind 4 out, pulled up after next, in a race won by Simply Wings (10-9) at Towcester 2m 3f beg chs (3) sft in Dec, 7 ran.
Alderluck (IRE) 7-2fav (10-4) Led, blundered 14th, ridden and headed 4 out, chased leader until next, chased leading pair until before 2 out, soon hung left and weakened, poor 8th when pulled up before last, in a race won by Swing Bill (11-4) at Cheltenham 3m am hcp chs 0-140 (3) gs in Nov, 14 ran.
Ringa Bay 7-1 (11-4) Not always fluent, took keen hold, pressed leader, led approaching and went left 5th, went left again 8th, mistake 3 out, headed on long run to next, driven after 2 out, stayed on under pressure to lead again flat, won at Lingfield 2m 4f hcp chs 0-120 (4) hvy beating Preuty Boy (10-7) by 1l, 7 ran.
Kings Lodge 9-1 (11-2) Led to 5th, led again 8th, headed before 4 out, ridden before 2 out, in 4th and one pace when blundered and unseated rider last, in a race won by Wiesentraum (11-2) at Doncaster 2m 3f beg chs (3) gs in Dec, 12 ran.
Iona Days (IRE) 20-1 (10-6) Tracked leaders, hampered 1st, 3rd and ridden when hit 3 out, went 2nd last, no impression on eased down winner, 2nd of 8, 6l behind Mister Hyde (10-13) at Kempton 3m hcp chs 0-140 (3) hvy in Dec.
Goring One (IRE) 9-4 (10-8) Led until approaching 3rd, chased clear leader, blundered 16th, driven before 3 out, closed before last, stayed on to lead final 150 yards, won at Wincanton 3m 1f hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Dec beating Plein Pouvoir (11-11) by 1 1/4l, 5 ran.