In a race that could go to any one of the nine runners, HOLMWOOD LEGEND gets the vote ahead of Sole Agent and Lidjo De Rouge. Our selection was second here last time when seeking for a hat-trick and travelled very nicely before being readily outpaced in the closing stages of the contest. Time may prove he faced an impossible task in giving 6lbs to Bradford Boris though and there doesn't appear to be anything as well treated in this contest, so despite the feeling that this trip is very much his limit stamina wise the gelding gets the most tentative of votes. Sole Agent may prove the danger for trainer Gary Moore. He's never won over this trip but should stay on this ground, whilst he continues to plummet in the weights and showed more last time, suggesting a return to something like his best is imminent. He's another with claims and doubts in almost equal stead, as is Lidjo De Rouge who was beaten far enough last time but is now below his last winning mark and the booking of Richard Johnson promises plenty. He stays the trip fine, as does stablemate Oncle Kid who isn't totally out of this despite racing from outside of the handicap. Intac represents a yard riding the crest of a wave but the 8lb drop he receives from the handicapper shouldn't be enough for this one to win as he was beaten 52 lengths last time and hasn't yet convinced in a brief chasing career. Nation State hasn't been seen since March and has questions to answer as efforts last spring were poor, but he is now 11lbs lower than when last successful and has to be given some sort of chance at a likely big price. Double The Trouble is similarly well treated but out of form, whilst in contrast Terrible Tenant continues to pay the price for his last win and is best watched until the handicapper relents further. Coach Lane has ability but is out of sorts and his wins have generally come over two miles, so in a real puzzle we'll return to in-form Holmwood Legend.
Holmwood Legend 4-1 (11-8) Close up, slightly hampered 2nd, disputing 2nd from 6th, chased winner from 13th, hit next and ridden, no impression from 3 out, 2nd of 5, 12l behind Bradford Boris (11-2) at Wincanton 2m 5f nov hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd.
Terrible Tenant 12-1 (11-12) Led until 2nd, prominent, led approaching 9th until 11th, stayed prominent until weakened 16th, tailed off before 3 out, pulled up soon after, in a race won by Mr Big (11-12) at Sandown 3m am chs 0-130 (3) sft in Feb, 8 ran.
Coach Lane 16-1 (11-5) Held up towards rear, headway approaching 3 out, went 3rd approaching next, quickly weakened, 6th of 8, 31l behind No Panic (11-6) at Stratford 2m 7f hcp chs 0-120 (3) gf.
Nation State 7-1 (11-12) Held up, reminders 7th, ridden 14th, soon held, finished lame, 5th of 9, 41l behind Free Gift (11-3) at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd in Mar '09.
Double The Trouble 25-1 (11-9) Held up towards rear on inside, headway 8th, mistake 12th, weakened before next, 6th of 12, 43l behind Noakarad De Verzee (11-5) at Huntingdon 3m hcp chs 0-115 (4) sft in Feb.
Intac (IRE) 25-1 (11-12) Tracked leaders until 9th, soon weakened, last of 10, well behind Royal Wedding (11-5) at Kempton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd in Apr.
Lidjo De Rouge (FR) 7-1 (9-13) Held up in rear, headway 13th, chased leaders on outside 3 out, kept on same pace from next, no impression, 5th of 12, 17l behind Busy Isit (11-6) at Sandown 2m 4f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gd.
Sole Agent (IRE) 3-1 (11-2) Led until headed 7th, soon driven along, lost 2nd 4 out, soon struggling, kept on to press for 2nd flat, no chance with winner, 3rd of 4, 23l behind Sumdancer (10-0) at Plumpton 2m 1f hcp chs 0-115 (4) hvy.
Oncle Kid (FR) 8-1 (10-0) Held up, mistake 2nd, tracked leading pair 9th, until dropped to 4th and blundered 11th, struggling soon after, 4th of 7, 25l behind Wheels Up (11-2) at Newbury 2m 2f nov hcp chs (0-125) (3) gs.