TORPHICHEN is taken to land what is a tricky race for punters to fathom, while James De Vassy and Trenchant look capable of plenty of improvement and can go close. The David Pipe-trained selection impressed when winning on his Ludlow debut last month, when he showed a liking for cut in the ground. An 85-rated flat performer, the Alhaarth gelding looks set for a good career over timber and can improve plenty for that first run, and defy a penalty to follow up. James De Vassy was another debut scorer, when making the most of the stone and more he received from his closest rival to win at Wincanton. The front pair drew clear that day, giving the form a solid look and he can get heavily involved. Alan King's Trenchant ran very green on his Warwick debut, but managed to win in spite of that, and he too looks capable of a fair bit more today. Art Exhibition is the most experienced of the leading lights here and although more exposed than most, his form is strong enough in context and he is respected. Of the debutants Border Owl should be able to finish ahead of Astrodome, although has to prove he can handle these conditions, while True Blue Saga is an interesting French raider. After a decent effort at Kempton last time, Francois Doumen said that his colt wants soft ground, and he gets that here, so we will anticipate an improved performance. Even so, for today we'll take Torphichen to come home in front.
Art Exhibition (IRE) 8-1 (11-5) Chased leaders, ridden and every chance 2 out, chased winner soon after, no impression before last, 2nd of 10, 12l behind Optimus Maximus (10-12) at Newbury 2m 4yo nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
James de Vassy (FR) 11-4 (10-7) Held up, not fluent 1st, chased leaders on bit after 3 out, veered right approaching 2 out, challenged and shaken up last, led soon after, driven out, readily, won at Wincanton 2m nov hdl (4) hvy in Jan beating Princeful (11-10) by 3 1/2l.
Torphichen 7-2 (10-9) Always going well, in touch, slow jump 5th, tracked leader 3 out, driven to lead approaching last, ran on well, won at Ludlow 2m 4yo nov hdl (4) sft in Jan beating Bruslini (10-12) by 5l, 12 ran.
Trenchant 4-1 (11-0) In touch, hit 5th, jumped slowly 3 out, wandered and challenged 2 out, ran on under pressure to lead last strides, won at Warwick 2m 4yo mdn hdl (4) hvy in Jan beating Rouge Et Blanc (11-0) by a nk, 8 ran.
Astrodome 7-1 (9-5) Steadied start, held up behind mid-division, headway from 3f out, stayed on to take 3rd inside furlong, no chance with leading pair, 3rd of 12, 9l behind Coda Agency (9-8) at Lingfield 2m hcp 0-65 (6) pol in Oct (Flat).
Border Owl (IRE) 8-1 (9-0) Held up in rear, headway over 2f out, stayed on inside final furlong, never nearer, 4th of 14, 8l behind The Fifth Member (9-5) at Goodwood 1m hcp 0-85 (4) gs in Oct (Flat).
Psi (USA) 13-2 (10-12) In touch, ridden to chase leaders between last 2, weakened approaching last, 5th of 13, 16l behind Ronaldo Des Mottes (10-12) at Folkestone 2m 1f 4yo mdn hdl (4) gs in Jan.
True Blue Saga (IRE) 20-1 (10-12) Took keen hold, held up in midfield, headway after 3 out, ridden before next, driven to take 2nd before last but no chance with easy winner, 2nd of 10, 11l behind Starluck (11-8) at Kempton 2m 3yo nov hdl (3) gd in Dec.