Melodic Rendezvous was out of his depth last time in the Champion Hurdle and tries a new trip here. But he did beat last year's Aintree Hurdle winner Zarkandar in the Kingwell Hurdle earlier and that one was only a couple of lengths behind AT FISHERS CROSS when fourth in the World Hurdle. Rebecca Curtis' charge has the best form on offer and can gain a deserved first victory of the season if his jumping holds up - he won a Grade 1 novice event over this course and distance at last year's meeting. Zarkandar's stablemate Salubrious is likely to come up short again while Thousand Stars looks held on the form book. Whisper defied a big weight to win the Coral Cup but may find this step up in class beyond him over 3m.
At Fishers Cross (IRE) 9-1 (11-10) Held up mid-division in touch, headway on outside 3 out, effort next, led narrowly and came towards stands side between last 2, headed when switched left before last, soon ridden and one pace, no impression with front pair flat, 3rd of 10, 7l behind More Of That (11-10) at Cheltenham 3m hdl G1 (1) gd in Mar.
Melodic Rendezvous 20-1 (11-10) In rear, soon pushed along, not fluent 2nd, never going pace to get on terms and well beaten from 3 out, 7th of 9, 19l behind Jezki (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m hdl G1 (1) gs in Mar.
Salubrious (IRE) 25-1 (11-10) Raced keenly, held up in last pair, outpaced 2 out, never on terms, weakened last, 9th of 10, 29l behind More Of That (11-10) at Cheltenham 3m hdl G1 (1) gd in Mar.
The Knoxs (IRE) 20-1 (10-10) Held up in rear, outpaced before 3 out, badly hampered 3 out, ridden and headway before last, stayed on well to take 3rd towards finish, 3rd of 10, 1 1/2l behind Hidden Justice (10-13) at Haydock 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in Mar.
Thousand Stars (FR) 10-11fav (11-10) Led, ridden after 2 out, strongly pressed entering straight, headed at last, rallied and stayed on well close home, 2nd of 6, 1l behind Sailors Warn (11-0) at Leopardstown 2m 2f hdl sft in Mar.
Whisper (FR) 14-1 (11-6) Tracked leaders, headway 2 out, led between last 2, soon ridden, strongly pressed flat, stayed on gamely, just held on, won at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gd in Mar beating Get Me Out Of Here (11-6) by shd, 28 ran.
Zarkandar (IRE) 14-1 (11-10) Held up in last pair, driven before 2 out, stayed on into 4th before last, kept on, never troubled leaders, 4th of 10, 9l behind More Of That (11-10) at Cheltenham 3m hdl G1 (1) gd in Mar.