Donald McCain is enjoying a splendid campaign and DIOCLES looks a likely addition to the stable tally. He made quite hard work of things when winning at Bangor last time without ever looking in danger of defeat and can defy his penalty. The fact that he is proven on heavy ground strengthens confidence. Stable companion Swift Arrow may need this hurdling debut and Porridge appeals as the main threat. Not seen since October, the gelding stayed on well in the closing stages of a Kelso novice and looks the sort to pick up a northern novice hurdle sooner or later. Jet Master hasn't really progressed since scoring at Perth four outings ago and improvement on recent efforts is required.
Diocles (IRE) 2-11fav (11-0) Led to before 2nd, tracked leader, led again after 6th, jumped right 2 out, soon ridden, went right again last, driven right out flat, won at Bangor 2m 4f mdn hdl (5) gs beating Floreat (11-0) by 2 3/4l, 6 ran.
Jet Master (IRE) 20-1 (11-11) Held up mid-division, weakened after 4 out, 10th of 13, well behind Simply Ned (11-8) at Musselburgh 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gs in Dec.
Coverholder (IRE) 50-1 (11-4) Held up towards rear, fell 3rd, in a race won by Lexi's Boy (10-7) at Ayr 2m mdn hdl (5) gs, 10 ran.
Porridge 25-1 (11-0) Towards rear, headway after 3 out, ridden last, kept on, 3rd of 14, 12l behind Boruler (10-11) at Kelso 2m mdn hdl (5) gs in Oct.
Swift Arrow (IRE) 9-2 (11-0) Tracked winner, ridden over 2f out, lost place inside final 2f, soon weakened, 5th of 9, 46l behind Ashes House (11-7) at Carlisle 2m 1f NH flat (6) hvy in Dec.
Wadnaan 33-1 (11-0) Behind, struggling 5th, lost touch and pulled up before next, in a race won by Bar De Ligne (11-5) at Market Rasen 2m 3f nh nov hdl (4) gs, 11 ran.
Woodys Brother (IRE) 66-1 (10-12) Disputed lead to 2nd, chased winner, lost place and reminders 4th, soon behind, tailed off when pulled up before last, in a race won by Bury Parade (11-2) at Hexham 2m nov hdl (4) hvy in Dec, 8 ran.