Tom Taaffe's Stretch The Truth was a good winner at Ballinrobe in September and ran well again when chasing home Takestan at Punchestown last month so he has to be respected on his British debut but preference is for WESTSTERN, who gets the vote ahead of Latin Scholar. Alan King's gelding should come on for his recent reappearance at Wincanton, although he had been running on the flat during the summer, and he has to be respected. Treeko ran better in a selling hurdle at Kelso last time but this is tougher and of more interest may be James Moffatt's Dar Es Salaam, who made a pleasing return to hurdles at Ascot last month. Jonjo O'Neill's Phoenix Ice disappointed on his reappearance at Aintree last time and looks best watched in a race taken to go to Weststern. Gary Moore's gelding has shown a good and consistent level of form of late and can gain a deserved success having been beaten by just a short head at Kempton last time.
Treeko (IRE) 11-2 (10-5) Tracked leaders, joined leader 4th, led 3 out, headed last, ridden and stayed on same pace flat, no chance with winner, 2nd of 13, 13l behind Bivouac (10-12) at Kelso 2m hcp chs 0-105 (5) gs.
We're Delighted 12-1 (11-1) Held up, headway 5th, tracked leading pair 3 out, challenged and every chance 2 out, weakened approaching last, 4th of 8, 7l behind Stratford Stroller (11-5) at Lingfield 2m hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gs.
Stretch The Truth (IRE) 20-1 (10-3) Soon mid-division, closed to track leaders from 3 out, on terms before straight, soon led and ridden clear, reduced lead last, headed and kept on same pace run-in, 2nd of 15, 2 1/2l behind Takestan (10-12) at Punchestown 2m hcp hdl 8Evens16 sft in Oct.
Latin Scholar (IRE) 11-1 (10-8) Held up mid-division, jumped slowly throughout, under pressure 3 out, soon weakened, 6th of 10, 19l behind Simply Blue (11-7) at Wincanton 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gd in Oct.
Blayney James (IRE) 25-1 (11-6) Towards rear for most, never a factor, 9th of 15, 25l behind High Skies (11-10) at Downpatrick 2m 2f hcp chs 0-95 gd in Oct.
Regional Counsel 100-1 (10-11) Tracked leaders, ridden approaching 2 out, weakened between last 2, 6th of 11, 18l behind Champtho (11-0) at Plumpton 2m mdn hdl (4) gd.
Dar Es Salaam 10-1 (10-1) Chased leaders, awkward 3 out, ridden to lead narrowly 2 out, kept narrow advantage until headed and not pace of winner flat and soon lost 2nd, 3rd of 9, 4 1/2l behind Zabeel Palace (10-8) at Ascot 2m 3f nov hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gd in Oct.
Weststern (GER) 3-1fav (9-11) Mid-division, headway after 3 out, led between last 2, hard driven flat, headed post, 2nd of 14, shd behind Akram (11-6) at Kempton 2m cond hcp hdl 0-1115 (4) gd.
Phoenix Ice (IRE) 25-1 (10-9) Held up towards rear, weakened approaching 2 out, 10th of 13, 50l behind Sonowyouno (11-0) at Aintree 2m mdn hdl (4) gs in Oct.
Andorn (GER) 20-1 (10-12) Held up in rear, jumped right 2nd, not fluent next, shaken up after 3 out, never dangerous, 7th of 12, 23l behind Skylancer (10-12) at Sedgefield 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) gf in Sep.
Mister Fizzbomb (IRE) 10-1 (10-8) Chased leader, ridden and one pace from 2 out, 5th of 17, 10l behind Three Thieves (11-2) at Doncaster 2m nov hcp hdl 0-100 (4) gd in Dec.
Kassuta 16-1 (10-13) Mid-division, ridden after 5th, stayed on under pressure from 3 out, hit last, kept on same pace flat, 4th of 13, 4l behind Isintshelovely (10-13) at Huntingdon 2m hcp hdl 0-95 (5) gs.
Galley Slave (IRE) 13-2 (10-5) Not jump well and behind, hampered bend after 7th, tailed off when pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by R'Cam (11-7) at Huntingdon 2m 4f hcp 0-90 (5) gd, 14 ran.
Chalice Welcome 7-1 (10-13) Chased leader, not fluent 5th, soon led, hit 2 out, soon headed, hung right and beaten approaching last, 9th of 13, 13l behind Isintshelovely (10-13) at Huntingdon 2m hcp hdl 0-95 (5) gs.