The front-running Sarika has won his last two starts at Exeter but he's gone up a further 6lb and, like recent Warwick third Satou, will be forced to carry more than his allotted weight in this. Gurtacrue has claims on his third to Neptune Equester over 3m4f at Haydock in November but there is almost certainly more to come from MINELLA STARS now upped in distance. He couldn't quicken when third to Penny Max over 3m at Newbury last month but this test will be more to his liking. Stablemate The Gossmoor Yank is unexposed over fences but looks to be facing a stiff task at the weights.
The Gossmoor Yank (IRE) 9-1 (11-1) Held up in touch, chased leaders 13th, hard ridden 5 out, weakened next, 5th of 8, well behind Teaforthree (11-1) at Chepstow 3m nov chs (3) hvy in Dec.
Minella Stars (IRE) 12-5fav (11-8) Held up in touch, pushed along after 12th, 3rd and no impression from 3 out, one pace, 3rd of 10, 22l behind Penny Max (11-3) at Newbury 3m nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) sft in Dec.
Gurtacrue (IRE) 7-1 (11-4) Held up in touch, headway on outside when left 2nd 5 out, lost place before next, 2 lengths down in 3rd when blundered 2 out, kept on same pace, no impression with leading pair approaching last, 3rd of 10, 8l behind Neptune Equester (11-12) at Haydock 3m 4f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Nov.
Satou (FR) 7-1 (11-8) Held up in touch, outpaced 4 out, kept on under pressure from 2 out, ridden when left 3rd last, no impression flat, 3rd of 12, 9l behind Plum Pudding (10-13) at Warwick 3m hcp chs 0-120 (4) gs in Dec.
Sarika (FR) 5-2fav (11-3) Made all, driven after 2 out, stayed on well from last, won at Exeter 3m hcp chs 0-115 (4) sft beating Ammunition (11-10) by 2l, 8 ran.