LA ESTRELLA starts the new year looking to record his 21st win on the all-weather and it's difficult to see any of today's opposition preventing him from doing so. Don Cantillon's charge beat much higher-rated rivals than these with the minimum of fuss over C&D last month and a similar outcome is expected here. Father Shine arrives on the back of a win over fences but was well beaten in both previous outings on the Flat while Silver Panther finished last in a couple of bumpers before keeping his record intact when failing to beat a rival home on his hurdling debut. Renegotiate and King Fingal are both out of sorts and have a stack to find with the selection anyway.
La Estrella (USA) 4-7fav (9-8) Tracked clear pair, went 2nd and close up 4f out, led 3f out, driven clear over 2f out, ridden and stayed on well final furlong, won at Wolverhampton 1m 4f sell stks (6) pol in Dec beating Pass Muster (9-4) by 4 1/2l, 5 ran.
Father Shine (IRE) 50-1 (9-8) Tracked leaders, went 2nd over 8f out until over 3f out, soon weakened, 7th of 8, 18l behind Just Lille (9-9) at Wolverhampton 1m 4f clm stks (6) pol in Sep.
Silver Panther 150-1 (10-7) Mid-division, mistake 3rd, slow next, soon behind, tailed off, last of 8, well behind Bathcounty (11-0) at Stratford 2m mdn hdl (5) gs in Oct.
King Fingal (IRE) 12-1 (9-4) Tracked leaders, outpaced over 2f out, soon no impression, 6th of 11, 11l behind Phase Shift (8-10) at Catterick 1m 4f clm stks (6) sft in Oct.
Renegotiate 5-2 (9-1) Awkwardly away and slowly into stride, mid-division, outpaced when stumbled over 5f out, never able to challenge, 5th of 7, 13l behind Icelander (9-1) at Lingfield 1m 4f clm stks (6) pol in Dec.