The last two renewals of this race have gone to the favourite and, with a lack of credible opposition, EMPRESS ORCHID may be able to enhance that record. Donald McCain has described his mare as a 'big, strong type' who should be able to win one of these and he's found a very weak race for her return to the track. Placed in two bumpers, she travelled well on her way to third in over 2m6f on her hurdling debut, a performance which suggested she'd win something over this trip. Chief opponent may be Miss Abbey, a bumper winner on her debut who toiled on soft ground thereafter, before returning to form at Ayr without threatening the winner. Her dam is a full-sister to Grey Abbey, a decent performer over timber, and she should be capable of running well. Along Came Rosie ran better than her odds implied in a better race at Wetherby and can build on that here by finishing third ahead of Tchikita and the Irish raider Catleen, both of whom need to improve.
Airey Scarey 8-1 (11-12) in a race won by Hold On Julio (12-5) at Hexham 2m 4f ptp gs in May, 10 ran.
Almond Court (IRE) 7-2 (10-4) Tracked leaders, outpaced after 2 out, ridden approaching last, kept on same pace, 4th of 9, 19l behind Sparkling Zola (10-8) at Hexham 3m hcp hdl 0-95 (5) gf in May.
Along Came Rosie 66-1 (10-4) Held up in mid-division, headway when stumbled soon after 3 out, beaten next, 6th of 18, 22l behind Andhaar (11-0) at Wetherby 2m nh nov hdl (3) gd in Oct.
Bach Street Girl (IRE) 100-1 (10-2) Behind, struggling 3 out, weakened next, tailed off, 8th of 10, well behind Solway Sam (11-5) at Hexham 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gs in May.
Baileys Ruffit (IRE) 13-2 (10-9) Chased leaders, led over 5f out, ridden and headed over 2f out, weakened over 1f out, 5th of 14, 14l behind Sparkling Hand (10-7) at Carlisle 2m 1f Mares Nat Hunt Flat (4-6yo) (Conditionals/Amateurs) (6) gd in Oct.
Basford Lady (IRE) 25-1 (10-12) Behind, reminders after 5th, plugged on to go remote 5th approaching 3 out, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Prescelli (10-12) at Ludlow 2m 5f mrs nov hdl (4) gs in Mar, 11 ran.
Catleen (IRE) 33-1 (10-8) Mid-division, ridden in 13th 3 out, stayed on one pace in 9th 2 out, kept on same pace, 7th of 20, 10l behind Saville Row (11-4) at Down Royal 2m 6f mdn hdl.
Empress Orchid 7-4fav (10-10) Tracked leaders, went 2nd 3 out, weakened between last 2, 3rd of 14, 14l behind Devon Native (10-11) at Southwell 2m 5f mdn hdl (5) gd in Jun '09.
Hole In One (IRE) 14-1 (10-4) Held up towards rear, weakened over 3f out, 7th of 12, 42l behind Sprinter Sacre (11-4) at Ayr 2m NH flat (4) gd in Apr.
Miss Abbey 12-1 (11-2) Held up towards rear, ridden over 3f out, kept on final 2f, 3rd of 12, 26l behind Sprinter Sacre (11-4) at Ayr 2m NH flat (4) gd in Apr.
Roll Over Rose (IRE) 7-2 (10-2) Raced in last pair, went 4th approaching 9th, outpaced after 3 out, weakened before 2 out, tailed off when pulled up before last, in a race won by Sunnyside (10-5) at Hexham 3m nh nov hdl (4) gs in Oct, 6 ran.
Sported And Played (IRE) Saddlers' Hall mare out of Alice Freyne.
Tchikita (FR) 40-1 (11-3) Always towards rear, blundered 4th and 5th, 9th of 14, 41l behind Primrose Time (10-10) at Carlisle 2m nov hcp chs 0-105 (4) sft in Oct.
Vallani (IRE) 150-1 (10-2) Chased winner, hit 1st, lost 2nd 3rd, left in lead on bend soon after, headed 6th, soon weakened, 10th of 13, 30l behind Drill Sergeant (11-5) at Haydock 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Oct.