Amir Pasha becomes a centurion today. He's having his 100th career start and enters the fray in top form, though none of his six victories over hurdles has been off a mark this high. Spiekeroog hasn't really progressed from last year's Newcastle victory and he was beaten in a seller the last time he ran over timber while Sparkling Hand appears well handicapped but might find the ground a bit lively. Civil Unrest scored over fences at Sedgefield then won twice over hurdles to complete a hat-trick. He's now 14lb higher than his latest success at Kelso so the vote goes to AFICIONADO. Still only a three-year-old, he's taken really well to hurdling and was only narrowly beaten by Dickie Henderhoop in an all-aged handicap at Carlisle.
Smadynium (FR) 20-1 (10-3) Always prominent, led before 3 out, headed approaching last, no extra, 3rd of 12, 3l behind Moujik Borget (11-1) at Haydock 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft in Nov.
Tourtiere 66-1 (10-12) Held up towards 3 out, chasing leaders when mistake 2 out, never on terms, 4th of 9, 10l behind Franciscan (11-5) at Musselburgh 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Nov.
Civil Unrest (IRE) 5-6fav (10-9) Made all, ridden before last, kept on run-in, won at Kelso 2m 2f nov hcp hdl 0-100 (5) gs in Nov beating Trust Thomas (11-5) by 3/4l, 10 ran.
Spiekeroog 7-2 (11-5) In touch, slow 6th, headway to chase winner approaching last, never able to challenge, 2nd of 6, 13l behind Moufatango (11-0) at Hexham 2m 4f sell hdl (5) gs in Oct.
Amir Pasha (UAE) 2-1fav (11-11) Chased leaders, not fluent 3rd or 5th, ridden and went 2nd before 3 out, led approaching 2 out, driven out, won at Sedgefield 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-100 (5) sft in Nov beating Queen Of Epirus (11-4) by 4 1/2l, 7 ran.
Funky Munky 7-2 (10-13) Led, headed after 3rd, in touch, led again narrowly 2 out, headed before last, kept on same pace, no impression flat, 4th of 10, 11l behind Tikkandemickey (11-1) at Hexham 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) hvy in Nov.
Sparkling Hand 9-2 (11-7) Led, headed before 2 out, soon weakened, last of 7, 39l behind Rattlin (11-7) at Hexham 2m 4f mrs hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gd in Jun.
Another Dimension (IRE) 33-1 (10-9) Always behind, weakened 3 out, 10th of 11, well behind Waltz Darling (11-5) at Sedgefield 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gs in Nov.
Aficionado 9-1 (10-7) Held up towards rear, headway to go 3rd before 2 out, chased winner before last, kept on and just held close home, 2nd of 7, hd behind Dickie Henderhoop (10-9) at Carlisle 2m 3f nov hcp hdl 0-110 (4) hvy in Nov.