David Easterby's MY OLD PIANO had shown improved form in point-to-points after disappointing previously under rules and carried that improvement through on his hunter chase debut at Leicester earlier this month when comfortably accounting for his rivals and looking one to keep on the right side of with so he gets the vote to win again with the main dangers rated as Penny Doc and Hemington. Michael Scudamore's gelding was well held by the selection at Leicester but the ground that day was very testing and he is likely to do better on the surface this afternoon so cannot be discounted. Just Talking was little better than moderate when last seen under rules in June 2008 but he has shown much improved form between the flags since then and may do better over regulation fences now. Andrew Martin's Oranger is another that is held by the selection on Leicester running and he looks booked for a place at best, while Andrew Jackson's Ryeman should be thereabouts again but invariably finds at least one too good. Peter York's Penny Doc won well at Folkestone earlier this month and he rates a big danger on that form but his penalty for that success may prevent him from getting the better of My Old Piano, who can defy his penalty for the win at Leicester.
My Old Piano (IRE) 5-2fav (12-3) Held up, headway 4th, led 6th until before next, tracked leader, pecked 13th, not fluent next, led 4 out, clear last, stayed on well, won at Leicester 2m 7f hts chs (6) hvy beating William Somers (11-12) by 10l, 13 ran.
Penny Doc (IRE) 8-13fav (12-0) Chased leaders, challenged 11th, led next, in command when left well clear last, won at Folkestone 2m 5f hts chs (6) hvy beating He's On His Way (11-7) by 4l, 7 ran.
Apollo Blaze (IRE) 28-1 (11-11) Led and clear of rest with one rival, reduced lead 6th, headed on long run to 2 out, weakened before last, 5th of 9, 29l behind Sericina (11-0) at Taunton 2m 7f hts chs (5) sft in Feb.
Ben Ryan (IRE) 100-1 (11-5) Prominent when blundered 1st, last when stumbled and hampered next, closed 9th, ridden 13th, stumbled 2 out, soon weakened, tailed off, 4th of 6, 32l behind Gentle George (11-12) at Huntingdon 3m hts chs (6) sft in Feb.
Hemington 11-2 (12-0) Mid-division, bumped 1st, headway 5th, close 3rd when stumbled bend before 4 out, weakened 3 out, tailed off, 6th of 13, 49l behind My Old Piano (12-3) at Leicester 2m 7f hts chs (6) hvy.
Just Talking (IRE) 7-4 (12-0) Clsd smooth to ld app 14; clr 2 out, won at Whitwick Manor 3m ptp in Feb beating Saint Reverien (12-0) by 8l, 10 ran.
Lagosta (SAF) 5-2 (11-0) Chsd ldrs til outpcd 15; lft poor 2nd 2 out, 2nd of 7, 20l behind Desert Tommy (11-0) at Whitwick Manor 3m ptp in Feb.
Mystic King 20-1 (12-0) To & pu 12, in a race won by Uppertier (12-0) at Chaddesley Corbett 3m ptp in Feb, 17 ran.
Nexthingwas (IRE) 25-1 (11-7) In rear, headway 3rd, fell 8th, in a race won by Lisadell King (11-11) at Leicester 2m 4f nov hunt chs (6yo+) (5) gd in Feb, 8 ran.
Oranger (FR) 10-1 (11-12) Prominent, hampered 6th, weakened approaching 4 out, went 3rd towards finish, 3rd of 13, 20l behind My Old Piano (12-3) at Leicester 2m 7f hts chs (6) hvy.
Ryeman 5-1 (12-0) (tt) ap; one pce 4 out, 4th of 10, 12l behind Think On This (12-0) at Black Forest Lodge 3m ptp in Feb.
Cracking Cliche 8-1 (11-7) Held up & bhnd; stdy prog 14; disp 2nd when ur last, in a race won by Waynesworld (12-7) at Garnons 3m ptp gs, 6 ran.
Isle Of Skye 8-1 (11-7) To & pu 2 out, in a race won by Uppertier (12-0) at Chaddesley Corbett 3m ptp in Feb, 17 ran.
True Friday 7-2 (12-0) Chsd ldrs; kpt on 3 out; nrst fin, 2nd of 6, 3l behind Teeton Bollinger (12-4) at Garthorpe 3m ptp gf.