Dan Breen and Gus Macrae were both useful novice hurdlers last season and the former already has experience over the larger obstacles, finishing second at Warwick last month, despite making mistakes. He's sure to have had plenty of schooling at home since but this is a more competitive affair. Gilbarry won at Wetherby on his reappearance, while Mohayer got off the mark over fences when the only finisher at Lingfield last month. However, there was a lot to like about MISTER STICKLER's defeat of more experienced rivals at Plumpton. He jumped well that day and probably has more to offer.
Gilbarry (IRE) 4-1 (11-2) Held up, took keen hold, not fluent 2nd, mistake 4th, not fluent 9th, soon closed on leaders, led 3 out, driven and stayed on well flat, won at Wetherby 2m nov chs (3) gd in Oct beating Osric (11-2) by 5l, 5 ran.
Mister Stickler (IRE) 4-1 (11-12) Held up towards rear, took keen hold, headway approaching 9th, soon slightly hampered by faller, led 2 out, driven out, held on well, won at Plumpton 2m 1f hcp chs 0-120 (3) sft in Nov beating High Oscar (9-11) by 3 1/2l, 9 ran.
Mohayer (IRE) 11-4 (10-11) Settled in 3rd, left alone 7th, cantered round, won at Lingfield 2m beg chs (4) hvy in Nov, 4 ran.
Aboukir Bay (IRE) 12-1 (9-8) Led until 3rd, not fluent 5th, mistake 8th, weakened 4 out, tailed off when pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Kilkenny All Star (11-7) at Southwell 2m hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd in Nov, 6 ran.
Dan Breen (IRE) 4-5fav (11-1) Led, narrowly headed before 3rd, led again 5th, dived at 7th, hit 2 out, soon pressed, headed just before last, no impression on winner flat, 2nd of 7, 2 1/2l behind Darby's Turn (11-1) at Warwick 2m nov chs (3) gd in Nov.
Gus Macrae (IRE) 20-1 (11-0) Prominent, ridden approaching 3 out, edged right soon after, soon weakened, 11th of 21, 27l behind Dee Ee Williams (11-12) at Aintree 2m cond hcp hdl (2) gd in Apr.
Hollo Ladies (IRE) 3-1 (11-2) Held up in rear, hit 8th, soon slightly outpaced, headway approaching 4 out, every chance approaching next, soon chased winner, kept on same pace from last, 2nd of 7, 1 1/2l behind Smuglin (10-9) at Market Rasen 2m 6f beg chs (4) gs in Nov.
Lord Villez (FR) 14-1 (10-7) Held up in touch in rear, not fluent 6th, went 3rd after 2 out, held last, weakened flat, 3rd of 5, 13l behind Best Lover (10-11) at Hexham 2m nov chs (3) hvy in Nov.
Shadow Dancer (IRE) 5-1 (10-12) Held up towards rear, pecked 2nd, mistake 7th, soon outpaced, plugged on same pace from 3 out, 6th of 7, 17l behind Darby's Turn (11-1) at Warwick 2m nov chs (3) gd in Nov.