SIMARTHUR has won a bumper and hurdle at Hexham but tackles fences for the first time today. However, he did land a point-to-point in 2012 so it shouldn't be a problem and he can get the better of Oscatara. Donald McCain's gelding has also won between the flags but has proved difficult to train under Rules and was pulled up when making a comeback over hurdles at Uttoxeter on New Year's Eve. Croco Bay won at Catterick before only going down by a short-head at Kelso but won't find it easy giving weight to less-exposed rivals and One In A Row was very moderate over hurdles.
Croco Bay (IRE) 4-1 (11-8) Led, ridden and pressed last, kept on and caught close home, 2nd of 7, shd behind Suprise Vendor (10-0) at Kelso 2m 1f (3) gs.
One In A Row (IRE) 7-1 (10-4) Held up towards rear, driven and outpaced 4 out, weakened from next, 10th of 15, 47l behind Rocky Stone (11-9) at Wetherby 3m 1f hcp hdl 0-100 (5) sft in Jan.
Oscatara (IRE) 5-1 (11-7) Held up towards rear, headway after 5th, weakened and pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Madness Light (11-3) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) hvy in Dec, 8 ran.
Simarthur 5-2fav (11-12) Held up in touch in rear, closed before 2nd, not fluent next, every chance 3 out, one pace 3rd when not fluent 2 out, no extra last, 4th of 7, 22l behind Wolf Shield (11-7) at Newcastle 3m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) hvy in Jan.