Bothy was useful on the flat when trained by Ralph Beckett and has looked a decent recruit to the novice hurdling ranks with wins at Bangor and Taunton in his two starts so far but the son of Pivotal faces no easy task against SANG BLEU, who is hard to oppose and looks the one to beat with the main rival rated as Stars Du Granits. The French import made a pleasing debut for Venetia Williams when readily accounting for his rivals at Plumpton last month and he has to be respected with more improvement likely to come from him. Bomber Brown is a rare runner over hurdles for Peter Chapple-Hyam and he has to be considered on his debut over timber having run well off marks in the mid 70's on the level. Hugh Morrison's Classically is another racing over hurdles for the first time and he was similarly rated to Bomber Brown on the flat so it will be interesting to see how the pair perform first time out over timber today. Jeff Pearce's Nicky Nutjob was nothing out of the ordinary on the level but has already shown better form over hurdles and should again be thereabouts but he may struggle under his penalty with a better bet looking to be Sang Bleu. The four-year-old showed a decent level of form from limited starts in France, winning a bumper and a race over hurdles, before making a promising first start over timber for Paul Nicholls when chasing home Me Voici in Chepstow's Finale Juvenile Hurdle in December and reproduction of the form shown that day will make him hard to beat.
Bothy Evensfav (10-13) Chased leaders, pushed along after 3 out, went 2nd approaching 2 out, led last, ridden clear flat, readily, won at Taunton 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Jan beating Cool Touch (11-4) by 2l, 12 ran.
Nicky Nutjob (GER) 33-1 (11-7) Held up in mid-division, hit 5th, some headway on outside and pushed along after 3 out, hit 2 out, weakened soon after, tailed off, 9th of 11, well behind Olofi (11-3) at Cheltenham 2m 1f 3yo nov hdl (2) sft in Dec.
Sang Bleu (FR) Evensfav (11-0) Held up, smooth headway on wide outside to track leaders approaching 3 out, led soon after 3 out, hit 2 out, headed before last, weakened flat, 2nd of 8, 10l behind Me Voici (11-0) at Chepstow 2m 3yo hdl Grd 1 (1) hvy in Dec.
Bomber Brown (IRE) 11-2 (9-4) Led, ridden and headed over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, 9th of 10, 7l behind Chosen Forever (8-10) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Jan (flat).
Classically (IRE) 3-1 (9-1) Chased leaders, challenged 2f out, chased winner 1f out, found no extra inside final furlong, 4th of 12, 2 1/2l behind Sham Sheer (9-4) at Kempton 1m 3yo hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Oct (flat).
Stars Du Granits (FR) 13-2 (10-12) With leader, led 2nd, made rest, stayed on well from 2 out, comfortably, won at Plumpton 2m 4yo nov hdl (4) gs in Jan beating Fin Vin De Leu (10-7) by 8l, 7 ran.