BILLIE MAGERN bids to follow in the footsteps of his popular brother Ollie Magern who picked up this prize in 2004 and may well be able to do so as he is progressing with every start since being sent chasing. He already boasts a comfortable victory over Chicago Grey and there was plenty to like about his defeat of a promising sort in Pause And Clause at Market Rasen. Balthazar King has won both starts over fences but this represents another step up in class and the newcomers may pose a greater threat. Picture This is unbeaten here over hurdles and represents a top yard whilst Wayward Prince is a Grade 1 winner over hurdles and a point winner in Ireland and is an exciting prospect for Ian Williams who has an excellent recent record with his chasers at this track.
Balthazar King (IRE) 3-1 (11-4) Jumped well, made all, joined from 3 out, 1 length ahead last, stayed on gamely flat, ridden out (no time taken), won at Chepstow 3m nov chs (3) gs beating Watamu Bay (10-12) by 1/2l, 5 ran.
Billie Magern 11-4 (11-9) Made all, soon clear with rival, 2 lengths clear 3 out, driven next, ridden and hard pressed flat, kept on under pressure towards finish, won at Market Rasen 2m 6f nov chs (2) gd in Sep beating Pause And Clause (11-1) by 3/4l, 6 ran.
Chicago Grey (IRE) 7-2 (11-2) Tracked leaders in 4th, 3rd 4 out, ridden before 2 out, 2nd and challenged after last, stayed on well to lead close home, won at Navan 2m 4f chs sft in Sep beating Sarteano (10-9) by 1/2l, 9 ran.
Pilgrims Lane (IRE) 20-1 (10-6) Mid-division, outpaced 3 out, soon weakened, tailed off, 6th of 12, 42l behind Ben's Folly (9-11) at Market Rasen 3m hcp hdl 0-145 (2) gd in Sep.
Hell's Bay (FR) 7-2 (10-12) Tracked leader, not fluent 14th or next, led 4 out, clear approaching 2 out, easily, won at Newton Abbot 3m 2f nov chs (3) gs in Aug beating Ballyvesey (11-4) by 8l, 4 ran.
Babysitter (IRE) 11-2fav (11-4) Mostly with winner until after 2 out, weakened after last, 9th of 11, 33l behind Quartz De Thaix (11-1) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) gd in Apr.
Picture This (IRE) 6-1 (10-7) Held up in mid-division, smooth headway to track leaders approaching 3 out, went 2nd and shaken up approaching last, ridden to go clear flat, won at Haydock 3m 1f hcp hdl (2) gd in May beating Barafundle (10-8) by 6l, 21 ran.
Wayward Prince 9-1 (11-4) Mid-division, not fluent and reminder 9th, headway approaching 3 out, went 2nd when jumped left last, led flat, stayed on well, won at Aintree 3m nov hdl Grade 1 (1) gd in Apr beating Western Leader (11-4) by 6l, 14 ran.