This Listed contest has attracted a couple of cracking novices with Cheltenham aspirations. It's difficult to know quite how good Puffin Billy is but he never came off the bridle in winning a Grade 2 at Ascot in December and is still unbeaten after four runs in bumpers and over hurdles. However, we'll take him on here with MELODIC RENDEZVOUS, who may just be that bit more streetwise and was very impressive in winning the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle last month. He just has the edge on a line through Le Reve and Ascot second Up To Something. Meganisi was well behind Puffin Billy at Ascot while this looks far too hot for Lordofthehouse and the remainder are even harder to fancy.
Lordofthehouse (IRE) 5-2 (11-5) Reluctant to race, detached, not fluent 2nd, soon closed on rear of main group, went 3rd 6th, not fluent and ridden 2 out, no extra, 4th of 6, 9l behind Close Touch (11-5) at Ascot 2m hdl (3) sft in Nov.
Meganisi (IRE) 10-3 (11-7) Tracked leaders, mistakes and not fluent throughout, driven 3 out, weakened next, eased last, modest 4th, last of 4, 35l behind Puffin Billy (11-7) at Ascot 2m nov hdl G2 (1) hvy in Dec.
Melodic Rendezvous 7-2 (11-7) Tracked leaders disputing 4th, headway to 3rd well before 2 out, went 2nd soon after 2 out, led last, stayed on strongly to asset final 150 yards, won at Sandown 2m nov hdl Grade 1 (1) hvy in Jan beating Pendra (11-7) by 4 1/2l, 7 ran.
Puffin Billy (IRE) 4-9fav (11-7) In touch, headway 2 out, led on bit after last, soon clear, impressive, won at Ascot 2m nov hdl G2 (1) hvy in Dec beating Up To Something (11-0) by 5l, 4 ran.
Red Riverman 16-1 (11-7) Heled up towards rear, steady headway 4 out, ridden and ridden in 4th before next, weakened 2 out, 6th of 12, 20l behind Brick Red (11-5) at Ludlow 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft in Jan.
High Ville (IRE) 10-1 (11-5) Took keen hold in mid-diviison, headway to chase leader 4th until 3 out, chased leading pair but no impression until ridden last, weakened flat, 5th of 15, 20l behind Heronshaw (11-5) at Ludlow 2m 5f mdn hdl (5) sft in Jan.
Enchanting Smile (FR) 12-1 (10-5) Pulled hard in rear, headway 3 out, led after next, headed last, no extra, 2nd of 7, 1 1/2l behind Accordingtopalm (10-12) at Ffos Las 2m nh nov hdl (4) hvy in Dec.