Doctor Harper won on his racecourse debut at Taunton and will make a bold bid to defy his penalty. This is a potentially hot contest, however, with several well-bred newcomers from powerful NH stables entered. Barry Geraghty rides Nicky Henderson's Act Four, a full brother to the stable's bumper winner Mono Man, while Fine Words and Samson's Bay look others to keep on the right side. But we fancy the impeccably-bred MORITO DU BERLAIS, by Turgeon out of a Cadoudal mare, to come out on top with his weight-for-age allowance. Oscar Fortune and The Clock Leary are both bumper winners and Monksgold and Somerset Lias have already shown promise in bumpers but will find easier opportunities in the future.
Doctor Harper (IRE) 2-1fav (11-7) Disputed lead, led 5f out, ridden over 1f out, kept on well inside final furlong, won at Taunton 2m 1f mdn nat hunt flat (5) sft in Dec beating August Hill (11-0) by 2l, 11 ran.
Act Four (IRE) Old Vic gelding out of Quadrennial.
Fine Words Alflora gelding out of Gospel.
Gallic Warrior (FR) Nononito gelding out of Rosa Gallica.
Gilbert Pasternak gelding out of Regal's Last.
Monksgold (IRE) 9-2 (11-2) Held up towards rear, steady headway over 6f out, went 3rd and switched left over 2f out, stayed on under pressure to 2nd entering final furlong, kept on, 2nd of 10, 2l behind Even If (10-13) at Bangor 2m 1f NH flat (6) hvy in Dec.
Oscar Fortune (IRE) 4-1 (11-7) Ww rr, 7th
Samson's Bay (IRE) Oscar gelding out of Living A Dream.
Somerset Lias (IRE) 66-1 (11-5) Mid-division, headway to chase leaders halfway, stayed on under pressure, no chance with winner, 2nd of 13, 12l behind Oscar Hoof (11-5) at Ludlow 1m 6f NH flat (5) sft in Jan.
Sun And Stars 4-1 (11-2) Chased leaders, led over 4f out, headed over 3f out, weakened over 1f out, 7th of 13, 36l behind Oscar Hoof (11-5) at Ludlow 1m 6f NH flat (5) sft in Jan.
The Clock Leary (IRE) 2-1 (11-7) Rr of mid div, prog to cl 5th 5out, went 2nd 4out, 2l clr 2out, all out, won at Ballydarragh 3m ire ptp gs in Dec beating Many Stars (10-11) by nk, 13 ran.
Morito Du Berlais (FR) Turgeon gelding out of Chica Du Berlais.