EMPIRE LEVANT couldn't justify favouritism at the Punchestown Festival in May but wasn't beaten far and his overall form last season was a cut above this standard. With today's rider claiming 8lb, the four-year-old can concede weight all round. Tony Star should strip fitter for a recent run behind stablemate Patesse at Sandown while Right Stuff is chasing a hat-trick after wins at Kempton and Huntingdon, though is taking on better opposition today. Dubai Crest's only win so far came in a maiden hurdle at Huntingdon, while Ashammar looks to be on the downgrade though did win a claimer on the Polytrack last month. Stars Du Granite and Levera have ability but may need a couple of runs to blow away the cobwebs.
Empire Levant (USA) 7-4fav (11-7) Led, mistake 3 out and joined, headed under pressure after next, no impression from before last where dropped to 3rd, no extra run-in, 4th of 13, 8l behind Street Entertainer (11-7) at Punchestown 2m 4yo hdl gd in May.
Stars Du Granits (FR) 28-1 (11-10) Tracked leaders on outside, lost place approaching 3 out, soon weakened, 16th of 24, 29l behind Sanctuaire (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m 4yo nov hcp hdl Grd 3 (1) gd in Mar '10.
Tony Star (FR) 14-1 (11-5) Took keen hold, tracked leading pair until stumbled badly and lost place 4th, recovered to track leading pair again soon after 3 out, weakened before next, 7th of 12, 18l behind Pateese (11-5) at Sandown 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft.
Levera 33-1 (11-5) Off the pace in mid-division, lost place 4 out, soon in rear, 11th of 12, 41l behind Pateese (11-5) at Sandown 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft.
Ashammar (FR) 14-1 (11-10) Tracked leader, led 5th, headed after 3out, weakened quickly, 8th of 10, well behind Olympian (11-0) at Stratford 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gf in Sep.
Right Stuff (FR) 13-8fav (11-12) In touch, headway 3 out, led next, hit last, ridden out, won at Huntingdon 2m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gs beating Break The Chain (11-6) by 6l, 8 ran.
Dubai Crest 5-4fav (11-2) Held up, headway after 5th, led and jumped left 2 out, jumped left last, headed towards finish, 2nd of 7, 3/4l behind Paddy The Hare (10-12) at Uttoxeter 2m 4yo nov stks (4) gf in Jul.