HANDIWORK has taken well to hurdles after failing to win on the Flat. He's on a hat-trick after beating subsequent winner Aalim on his debut at Market Rasen before giving weight top to the well-regarded Royal Skies at Wetherby. This will be tough under a double penalty on the ground, though he still makes more appeal than Fontwell scorer Vandross and Astre De la Cour, who was beaten a long way on his first run for Robert Walford at Kempton. Mandy's Boy ran his best race so far at Warwick last time but he may do better in handicaps and Masquerading's Flat form was on much faster surfaces.
Handiwork 3-1 (11-5) Tracked leaders, went 2nd after 4 out, ridden 2 out, rallied and upsides last, led and edged right flat, kept on, won at Wetherby 2m 3yo hdl (4) sft in Dec beating Royal Skies (11-0) by 1l, 8 ran.
Vandross (IRE) 7-4 (10-9) Chased leaders, went 2nd 2 out, challenged and hit last, driven and stayed on to lead final 100 yards, won at Fontwell 2m 2f 3yo hdl (4) hvy in Dec beating Akdam (11-7) by 1/2l, 7 ran.
Astre De La Cour (FR) 11-4 (10-12) Took keen hold, tracked leading pair until approaching 3rd, chased leading trio, pushed along and outpaced on long run to 2 out, beaten when mistake 2 out, 4th of 6, 40l behind Vicenzo Mio (11-8) at Kempton 2m 3yo hdl (3) sft in Dec.
Green Special (ITY) 33-1 (10-12) Held up mid-division, headway before 4th to chase leaders, weakened before last, 10th of 11, 29l behind Mixed Message (10-5) at Wetherby 2m 3yo mdn hdl (5) gd in Oct.
Mandy's Boy (IRE) 11-1 (10-12) Held up in rear, headway after 4 out, chased leaders after next, led last, headed and no extra closing stages, 2nd of 11, 1l behind Mahican (10-12) at Warwick 2m 3yo hdl (4) gs in Dec.
Masquerading 8-1 (9-0) Tracked leaders, ridden to challenge 2f out, not pace of winner 1f out, lost 2nd inside final furlong, no extra close home, 3rd of 6, 4 1/2l behind Cat O'Mountain (9-5) at Kempton 1m 3f 3yo hcp 0-95 (3) pol in Sep (flat).