Peter Bowen's Rio Gael has the highest rating of those to have earned one ahead of this novices' hurdle but he faces no easy task under his double penalty and the four-year-old may have to settle for a place at best. George Moore's Maska Pony won well at Kelso in May but this looks tougher, especially after his defeat in a handicap at Market Rasen last time. Ferdy Murphy's Best Horse makes his first appearance since November, while Red Skipper is fit and in form from the flat but probably needs to improve to get the better of the selection, DUTY FREE. James Moffatt's gelding has found just the one to good in each of his last two outings at Perth, latterly when a length second to Jewelled Dagger in a maiden hurdle and he can go one better today.
Rio Gael (IRE) 13-8fav (11-11) Led, ridden and headed approaching last where not fluent, edged left and stayed on flat, always being held, 2nd of 8, 1/2l behind Bandanaman (11-4) at Sedgefield 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) gd.
Maska Pony (IRE) 7-2 (11-12) Led, clear until 4th, mistake 3 out, headed when hit 2 out, not fluent last, stayed on same pace, 3rd of 7, 3 1/2l behind Isle Of Inishmore (11-2) at Market Rasen 2m 3f nov hcp hdl 0-100 (4) gd.
Best Horse (FR) 9-1 (11-10) Held up, chased leaders approaching 4th, no impression from 2 out, 6th of 13, 11l behind High Stand Lad (11-4) at Musselburgh 2m hcp hdl 0-100 (4) gs in Nov.
Duty Free (IRE) 13-8fav (10-9) Reluctant to start, hampered 2nd, headway to track leaders 3rd, chased winner 2 out, challenged and hit last, driven flat, kept on one pace, 2nd of 9, 1l behind Jewelled Dagger (10-12) at Perth 2m mdn hdl (4) gf.
Pagan Lightning (USA) 12-1 (11-7) Always behind, 11th of 14, 41l behind Jowango (11-4) at Kilbeggan 2m Maiden Hurdle (4-5yo) gd in Jul.
Pitbull 40-1 (10-12) Took keen hold in rear, mistake 4th, went 4th next until weakened approachinng 3 out, tailed off, last of 7, well behind Dunaskin (11-12) at Cartmel 2m 1f sell hdl (5) gd.
Red Skipper (IRE) 50-1 (10-12) Tracked leaders, mistake 1st, ridden and weakened after 2 out, 8th of 11, 13l behind Twentynineblack (11-5) at Cartmel 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Jun.
Sound of Silver 100-1 (11-1) Tracked leaders to halfway, 13th of 15, well behind Katapult (11-1) at Catterick 2m am mdn N H flat (6) sft in Jan '08.
Valdan (IRE) 9-1 (9-8) Slowly away, in rear, ridden over 2f out, soon weakened, last of 7, 31l behind Cat O' Nine Tails (8-13) at Musselburgh 1m 6f hcp 0-75 (5) gd (flat).
Tuckers Treasure 12-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders, ridden 4f out, soon weakened, 10th of 14, 48l behind Vertige Dore (11-1) at Worcester 2m NH flat (6) gd.
Shuttle Diplomacy (IRE) 16-1 (10-9) In rear, headway over 3f out, no further progress, 9th of 12, 21l behind Vesey Lodge (11-0) at Uttoxeter 2m NH flat (6) gd in Jul.
Wapiti Creek (IRE) 50-1 (10-7) Made most until ridden and headed when fell 2 out, in a race won by Frankie Anson (11-7) at Cartmel 2m 5f beg chs (4) gd, 7 ran.