From a shortlist of SUN QUEST, Rebel Raider and Critical Stage, we'll be siding in the opener with the first named, who's one of two runners in the race for Tim Vaughan. Recently switched from Reg Hollinshead's yard, Tony McCoy's on board one of two that the stable send out here, the other being Risk Challenge. The ground won't be a problem, with him having registered a couple of places to his name recently with some cut in the ground, in similar contests. It is a step up in trip, and there may be a concern or two about backing a horse that has yet to break its maiden after 30 attempts, but this could be another of those to benefit from the switch of yard. Rebel Raider has won in handicap company, but was well down the field in a pipe opener earlier in the month, for which he's entitled to come on. He's raced in much better company than this previously. Critical Stage has to give weight away all round, and was disappointing last time out at Chepstow, maybe being beaten by the hill. Jimmy Frost, who won this race last year, also saddles Good Control. It's not the greatest race on the card, but we think the most likely winner is Sun Quest.
Critical Stage (IRE) 11-2 (10-10) Tracked leaders, lost place 4 out, 5th of 12, 15l behind Wildbach (10-10) at Chepstow 2m clm hdl (5) gs in Nov.
A Double Ewe Bee 6-1 (11-1) Led early, weakened 4 out, tailed off when pulled up 2 out in race won by Monsieur Georges (10-11) at Leicester 2m 4f cnd sll hcp hdl (5) hvy, 12 ran.
Devito (FR) 7-2 (10-1) Prominent, ridden after 8th, weakened next, tailed off, 8th of 12, well behind Spear Thistle (11-9) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gs in Nov.
Good Control (IRE) 25-1 (11-9) Tracked leaders, hit 4th, led 6th until after 8th, soon weakened, behind when fell 2 out in race won by Old Brigade (9-7) at Exeter 2m 5f nov hcp hdl 0-105 (4) sft in Nov, 6 ran.
Rebel Raider (IRE) 10-1 (10-7) Led 2nd, hit 5th and 4 out, every chance 3 out, weakened under pressure before next, 7th of 9, 12l behind Albany (10-10) at Plumpton 2m clm hdl (5) sft.
Risk Challenge (USA) 25-1 (10-9) Tracked leaders, ridden and weakened 3 out, 4th of 8, 43l behind Idarah (11-4) at Ludlow 2m sll hdl (4) gs in Nov.
Rojabaa 11-2 (10-7) Tracked leaders and keen, ridden approaching 3 out, soon weakened, 7th of 12, 37l behind Monsieur Georges (10-11) at Leicester 2m 4f cnd sll hcp hdl (5) hvy.
Royal Prodigy (USA) 16-1 (10-2) Towards rear, ridden 7th, soon weakened, 8th of 13, well behind Mickmacmagoole (11-9) at Taunton 2m 3f amt hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gs in Nov.
Safin (GER) 10-3fav (10-1) Chased leaders, ridden to chase winner approaching 3 out until hit 2 out, weakened, 5th of 14, 19l behind Nearly A Breeze (9-13) at Exeter 2m 3f cnd hcp hdl 0-95 (5) gs in Oct.
Snake Hips 100-1 (10-7) Mid-division, headway approaching 3 out, never reached leaders, weakening when mistake 2 out, 5th of 16, 23l behind Novarra (10-5) at Ludlow 2m cnd sll hdl (4) gs in Nov.
Stance 11-1 (11-1) Soon led, mistake and headed 11th, soon weakened, blundered 3 out, behind when pulled up 3 out in race won by By George (10-7) at Huntingdon 2m 4f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd in Nov, 12 ran.
Stealing Moments (IRE) 25-1 (11-7) Mid-division when unseated rider at the 3rd in race won by Pret A Thou (11-4) at Hereford 2m nov hcp chs 0-95 (5) gs, 14 ran.
Sun Quest 5-1 (10-9) Held up in mid-division, headway when not clear run briefly approaching 2 out, led last, soon ridden, faltered and headed final 50 yards, 2nd of 15, 1/2l behind Nothingbutthetruth (10-12) at Uttoxeter 2m nov sll hdl (5) gs in Oct.
Beshairt 66-1 (10-5) Mid-division, ridden after 6th, soon struggling, 8th of 16, 30l behind Novarra (10-5) at Ludlow 2m cnd sll hdl (4) gs in Nov.