BLACK BEAUTY and Alrafid are the two to concentrate on here with preference for the first-named. Mick Quinlan's gelding has been busy recently, taking in races over fences and on the flat as well as over hurdles. This ex-Irish flat horse is yet to win on these shores but this looks his best chance to date and he can finally break his duck. Lester Leaps In should feature on most shortlists as he reverts to hurdles this afternoon. Recent outings over fences have not been great (poor jumping a feature) but if we go back far enough then he has some decent handicap hurdling form from over a year ago. Alrafid has claims but he is not the most consistent and he also has a winners' penalty to carry today. His recent outings on the flat have been modest and having only just scraped home when winning here earlier in the season he is hard to fancy strongly. At a price Shanahan could run well granted this further drop in grade, whilst Chunky Lad needs to improve his hurdling technique. A tough race to call but Black Beauty can lead them home.
Alrafid (IRE) 3-1 (10-12) Held up, mistake 3rd, headway 3 out, ridden to challenge after 2 out, hit last, led near finish, all out, won at Fontwell 2m 2f sell hdl (5) gd in Nov beating Mad Professor (10-5) by hd, 10 ran.
Chunky Lad 13-2 (11-0) Mid-division, fell 4th, in a race won by Tooka (10-8) at Towcester 2m 3f Ladies sell hdl (5) gd in Mar, 13 ran.
Shanahan (IRE) 16-1 (11-0) Behind, under pressure 4 out, soon beaten, 5th of 10, 21l behind Mount Benger (11-2) at Chepstow 2m clm hdl (5) gd in Mar.
Black Beauty 7-2 (11-10) Raced keenly and led, headed 3 out, soon ridden, no extra from next, 4th of 10, 9l behind Well Disguised (9-12) at Newcastle 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gd in Mar.
Country Affair (USA) 33-1 (10-13) Mid-division, jumped right 1st, hampered 5th, struggling when not fluent 3 out, 5th of 16, 44l behind The Wooden Spoon (11-12) at Stratford 2m 6f sell hdl (5) gf in Mar.
Lester Leaps In (USA) 13-2 (11-12) Prominent, ridden 9th, lost touch 10th, weakened 4 out, last of 3, 46l behind Dream Falcon (11-4) at Taunton 2m 3f nov hcp chs (0-125) (3) fm in Mar.
Prince Ducal (FR) 40-1 (11-5) In touch, hit 2nd, weakened after 3 out, 9th of 13, 30l behind Ton-Chee (10-8) at Newton Abbot 2m 1f sell hcp hdl 0-95 (5) gf in Mar.
Surely Keen 100-1 (11-2) Mid-division, mistake 5th, well behind well pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Silver Sister (10-6) at Fontwell 2m 2f sell hdl (5) gd in Mar, 15 ran.
Tecktal (FR) 100-1 (10-7) Always towards rear, mistake 1st, 12th of 14, 45l behind Stage Acclaim (10-4) at Lingfield 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Mar.