Ruby Valentine escapes a penalty for her win at Hereford in a conditional jockeys' handicap earlier this month but is 6lb out of the handicap proper so may struggle to win again and preference is for PERCEPTION. Alan King's filly has not run over hurdles for some time but comes here fit and in form from the flat having won at Kempton recently and she looks worth siding with now that the stable is in such good heart. The Tor Sturgis-trained Cardinal James disappointed last time but has claims on his showing at Exeter previously, while the consistent Mangonel looks booked for a place at best. Ballyoliver could be of interest first time out in a handicap for Venetia Williams but preference is for another making their first start in a handicap in Perception.
Cardinal James (IRE) 10-1 (11-4) Chased leading pair, went 2nd 4th until hit 4 out, weakened next, tailed off, 6th of 10, well behind Amuse Me (11-2) at Fontwell 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gs.
Ballyoliver 9-2 (11-0) In touch, ridden when not fluent 9th, weakening when not fluent 3 out, 8th of 13, 37l behind Educated Evans (10-11) at Stratford 2m 6f mdn hdl (4) gs in Oct.
Matako (FR) 50-1 (10-9) Held up in rear, headway approaching 9th, outpaced after 3 out, staying on to dispute 2nd when bad mistake last, 3rd of 13, 10l behind Educated Evans (10-11) at Stratford 2m 6f mdn hdl (4) gs in Oct.
Stagehand (IRE) 12-1 (11-6) Tracked leaders, weakened from 3 out, slightly hampered next, 6th of 12, 27l behind Tora Bora (10-2) at Southwell 3m hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gd in Apr.
Perception (IRE) 4-1 (10-7) Chased leaders, reminders after 3rd, hit 2 out, weakened soon after, 6th of 14, 26l behind Mayberry (10-13) at Fontwell 2m 2f mdn hdl (4) gd in Apr.
Mangonel 10-1 (10-0) In touch, no impression flat, 4th of 15, 4l behind Detroit Red (11-8) at Taunton 2m 3f mares hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gd.
Ruby Valentine (FR) 13-2 (10-3) Held up in touch, not much room 6th, went 2nd next, led 2 ou, ridden and headed narrowly before last, staye don gamely to regain lead flat, ridden out, won at Hereford 2m 4f cnd hcp hdl 0-95 (5) gs beating Just The Job (11-6) by 1l, 15 ran.