DEVILS RIVER is entitled to start as favourite and may be able to confirm recent course form with Isaac Butt and Mr Ironman. The selection has only won one of his twelve starts over fences and that was from a 6lb lower mark than that which he races from today but he has finished second on no fewer than five occasions. His win came at this track, as did four of his second place finishes and he should be in the mix once again. Isaac Butt was just over four lengths behind him last time so rates as a live danger particularly if the blinkers, which he wears here for the first time, have the desired effect. Tooka was only a neck back in fourth and could have finished closer but for a mistake three from home and he is a dual course winner. A further six lengths back in fifth was the favourite for the race, Mr Ironman, who kept on without threatening having lost his place with a bad mistake at the eighth of twelve fences. Irish raider The Thirsty Bricky would be respected if the market vibes were encouraging but Devils River has solid claims.
Ross Leader (IRE) 15-2 (11-2) Chased leaders, weakened quickly, pulled up before 9th, in a race won by Ultimate Limit (11-9) at Taunton 2m 7f hcp chs 0-105 (4) sft in Dec, 13 ran.
The Thirsty Bricky (IRE) 11-1 (11-3) Towards rear, pulled up before 6th, in a race won by Whosaidso (11-8) at Fairyhouse 2m 5f hcp chs 0-102 hvy in Dec, 16 ran.
Tooka 20-1 (11-12) Chased leader until approaching 4th, 2nd again 5th until blundered badly 3 out, stayed on same pace approaching last, 4th of 10, 6l behind Ballymorn (11-4) at Towcester 2m hcp chs 0-95 (5) hvy in Jan.
Devils River (IRE) 13-2 (11-2) Led, hung left after 2 out, went badly right last, hung left flat, headed towards finish, 2nd of 10, 1 1/4l behind Ballymorn (11-4) at Towcester 2m hcp chs 0-95 (5) hvy in Jan.
Isaac Butt (IRE) 16-1 (10-8) Mid-division, headway 5th, jumped right next, struggling after 3 out, stayed on same pace approaching last to 3rd flat, 3rd of 10, 6l behind Ballymorn (11-4) at Towcester 2m hcp chs 0-95 (5) hvy in Jan.
Mr Ironman 7-2fav (10-8) Mid-division, struggling when mistake 8th, plugged on flat, 5th of 10, 12l behind Ballymorn (11-4) at Towcester 2m hcp chs 0-95 (5) hvy in Jan.
Lord Gunnerslake (IRE) 33-1 (10-0) Mid-division, behind when jumped right 6th, tailed off when pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Devils River (11-1) at Towcester 2m hcp chs 0-90 (5) sft in Nov, 11 ran.
All Sonsilver (FR) 12-1 (10-0) Chased leaders until lost place 11th, soon struggling in rear, tailed off when pulled up approaching 2 out, in a race won by Wasntme (11-10) at Chepstow 3m 2f hcp chs 0-90 (5) sft in Oct, 10 ran.