Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh have teamed up to win this limited handicap three times in the last five years, including the last twice. Escort'men and Domtaline both defied top weight and those at the top of the weights have an excellent record so HINTERLAND has to be the selection, even though he was a shade disappointing after making a successful UK debut at Cheltenham last November. Ubaltique's win at Perth in the spring hasn't worked out but Swampfire won't fail through lack of fitness having won at Kilbeggan in August and Captain Sharpe had a spin on the Polytrack earlier this month. The others have a bit to find at the weights, however, with the bottom three racing from out of the handicap.
Hinterland (FR) 7-1 (11-0) Held up mid-division, headway and in touch on outside 4th, fell next, in a race won by Grumeti (11-0) at Aintree 2m 4yo hdl Grade 1 (1) gs in Apr, 11 ran.
Ubaltique (FR) 10-3 (11-0) Tracked leader, led 3 out, ridden clear before last, stayed on, won at Perth 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Apr beating Jet Master (11-2) by 8l, 7 ran.
Captain Sharpe 10-1 (10-4) In touch in mid-division, closed 4th, led approaching last, 3 lengths up when not fluent at hurdle, driven out, won at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp (3) gs in Apr beating Teshali (10-3) by 1 3/4l, 11 ran.
Swampfire (IRE) 6-1 (10-6) Chased leaders, 6th halfway, ridden in 5th after 3 out, moderate 7th 2 out, kept on one pace, 6th of 16, 25l behind Burrenbridge Lodge (11-5) at Listowel 2m 4yo hcp hdl hvy in Sep.
Chadford 66-1 (10-8) Tracked leaders, led approching 4th, blundered 7th, edged left and headed, soon weakened, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Grandads Horse (11-12) at Haydock 2m 4f Novice Handicap Hurdle (0-135) (4-8yo) (3) gd in Apr, 10 ran.
Lemon Drop Red (USA) 25-1 (10-11) Tracked leaders, went 2nd after 4th until approaching last, soon weakened, 13th of 24, 19l behind Une Artiste (10-8) at Cheltenham 2m 4yo nov hcp hdl Grd 3 (1) gd in Mar.
Luggers Hall (IRE) 5-4fav (10-10) In rear, went 3rd before 3 out, challenged 2 out, led before last, kept on well, driven out, won at Kempton 2m Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (0-125) (4yo) (3) gd in Apr beating Alfraamsey (11-9) by 4l, 5 ran.
Crafty Roberto 14-1 (10-6) Mid-division best, ridden in 9th entering straight, no impression, 8th of 16, 34l behind Burrenbridge Lodge (11-5) at Listowel 2m 4yo hcp hdl hvy in Sep.
Red Riverman 17-2 (10-9) Held up mid-division, headway after 3 out, ridden to chase clear winner before 2 out, one pace and no impression, 2nd of 8, 4 1/2l behind The Lemonpie (10-7) at Newton Abbot 2m 1f nov hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft.