Winning pointer Keppols Hill was only beaten a short-head on his debut under Rules at Ffos Las but then fell when a warm favourite at Exeter. It's rare to see a Nicholls horse in cheekpieces and he may not be entirely straightforward. We'll take him on with ARTHURIAN LEGEND, three times a winner here over hurdles and sure to have learned plenty from his chasing debut at Ascot. Badgers Cove and Sherwani Wolf have a bit to prove at present while Smooth Classic has been absent for almost two years. Neither Basil Fawlty nor Regal Brook should be good enough either.
Arthurian Legend 7-1 (11-1) Held up in touch, jumped left and not fluent 1st, not fluent and dropped to last 8th, not fluent next or 3 out, still close enough 2 out, left 3rd last, stayed on, 3rd of 5, 3 1/2l behind Minella Class (11-1) at Ascot 2m 5f beg chs (3) sft in Nov.
Badgers Cove (IRE) 5-4 (11-0) Tracked winner, every chance when slipped up just after landing 12th, in a race won by Grouse Lodge (11-0) at Towcester 2m 6f beg chs (4) hvy in Dec, 5 ran.
Basil Fawlty (IRE) 5-1 (11-12) Took keen hold, held up in 5th, not fluent 3rd, headway on inside to 4th 3 out, weakened before next, 6th of 8, 46l behind Call Me Sir (10-9) at Wincanton 2m 6f NH Novice Handicap Hurdle (0-105) (3yo+) (4) sft in Dec.
Keppols Hill (IRE) 5-4fav (11-3) Pressed leader, led narrowly 4 out, driven between last 2, 2 lengths ahead and under pressure when blundered and fell last, in a race won by Grove Pride (11-3) at Exeter 3m nov chs (3) gs in Nov, 7 ran.
Sherwani Wolf (IRE) 25-1 (11-2) Chased leaders to 10th, soon behind, lost touch when pulled up 4 out, in a race won by Rolling Aces (11-12) at Newbury 2m 6f nov hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Dec, 15 ran.
Smooth Classic (IRE) 28-1 (11-7) Held up in rear, not fluent 5th, behind 3 out, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Firm Order (11-8) at Sandown 2m 4f nov hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gd in Feb '11, 17 ran.
Regal Brook 9-1 (11-9) Tracked leader, took closer order before 4 out, weakened after 3 out, 11th of 18, well behind Manadam (11-2) at Towcester 3m hcp hdl 0-100 (5) gs in Feb.