It was testing ground when Cole Harden scored at Fontwell and Knockanrawley won at Towcester on his hurdling debut. But both carry penalties for and STEEL CITY may take advantage. The latter won a bumper early in the year before going close over these hurdles last month and gets the vote to open his account. Gallic Warrior also ran well when fourth here last time and Black Cow is another to consider representing the Nicholls yard on his hurdling debut.
Cole Harden (IRE) 9-4fav (10-11) Made all, pressed from last, ridden run-in, held on well towards finish, won at Fontwell 2m 4f mdn hdl (4) hvy in Nov beating Westaway (11-0) by 4l, 13 ran.
Knockanrawley (IRE) 9-2 (11-0) Tracked leaders, led 3 out, ridden before next, soon hard pressed, headed narrowly flat, kept on, just held, 2nd of 11, nk behind Mountain Tunes (11-5) at Towcester 2m 5f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Dec.
Absolutely Bygones (IRE) 16-1 (10-9) Held up in rear, headway 3 out, soon no impression, 6th of 9, 13l behind Neston Grace (10-12) at Exeter 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Nov.
Black Cow (IRE) 7-2 (10-11) Got loose before start, took keen hold, prominent, led after 2f, headed over 2f out, edged left and beaten over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, 3rd of 8, 11l behind Powerstown Dreams (10-11) at Doncaster 2m (6) gd in Nov.
Brogeen Boy (IRE) 50-1 (11-2) Tracked leader, lost place over 3f out, 6th of 8, well behind Stellar Notion (11-2) at Bangor 2m 1f NH flat (6) gs in Dec.
Clovers Boy 200-1 (10-9) Chased leadrs, weakened 5th, tailed off and pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by African Broadway (11-5) at Exeter 2m 3f nov hdl (4) sft in Jan '12, 14 ran.
Gallic Warrior (FR) 3-1 (10-12) In touch, hampered 1st, soon chasing leaders, effort 3 out, ridden to challenge approaching last, stayed on same pace, 4th of 9, 5l behind Neston Grace (10-12) at Exeter 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Nov.
Rafafie 66-1 (10-7) Not fluent 1st, always in rear, tailed off, 13th of 15, well behind Aubusson (10-5) at Chepstow 2m 4f nov hdl (4) gs in Dec.
Steel City 5-1 (10-12) In rear and in touch, chased winner before last, soon every chance, kept on and held toward finish, 2nd of 4, 1 1/2l behind Prideofthecastle (10-12) at Exeter 2m 1f NH nov hdl 4-6yo (4) gd in Dec.
Wansbeck 33-1 (11-7) Prom in chsng group til wknd 11, 6th of 13, 37l behind All But Grey (12-0) at Four Burrow 2m 4f ptp gf in May.
Landulph Lass 100-1 (10-7) Stumbled 1st, in touch, weakened approaching 3 out, 10th of 14, 39l behind Blue Buttons (10-10) at Exeter 2m 3f mrs nov hdl (4) sft in Dec.