CLEVER COOKIE looks the one to beat on today's terms. He shrugged off a 9lb rise to complete a double at Musselburgh and should have no problem with the extra 2f here. Fergall was less impressive at Kempton attempting to defy a rise in the weights for an earlier win at Huntingdon and, having made a promising start over hurdles, Franciscan seems to have lost his way. Hit The Top finished well ahead of Maybe I Wont when runner-up in a handicap at Catterick while novice hurdle winners Landecker and Secrete Stream are closely matched at the weights. Irish raider Mister Nibbles won a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown last time and could prove a bigger threat.
Clever Cookie 5-1 (10-0) Held up in rear and travelled strongly, headway 5th, not fluent next, mistake 2 out, led last, ridden and ran on well to draw clear flat, won at Musselburgh 2m hcp hdl (2) sft in Feb beating Local Hero (10-9) by 8l, 10 ran.
Fergall (IRE) 14-1 (11-9) Held up in 7th, headway on inside when hampered 4 out, chasing leaders when hit 3 out, ridden and weakened approaching 2 out, 6th of 10, 33l behind Three Kingdoms (11-8) at Kempton 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft in Dec.
Mister Nibbles (IRE) 4-1 (11-9) Mid-division early, progress into 5th halfway, led 5 out, challenged 2 out, ridden before last, strongly pressed run-in and kept on well under pressure, won at Leopardstown 2m 4f mdn hdl sft in Jan beating Champagne James (11-12) by 1/2l, 17 ran.
Franciscan 14-1 (10-4) In touch, closed before 4th, challenged next, ridden and close up when fell 3 out, in a race won by Clever Cookie (10-0) at Musselburgh 2m hcp hdl (2) sft in Feb, 10 ran.
Hit The Top 10-3fav (11-4) Led, ridden and headed before last, kept on run-in, 2nd of 7, 1 1/2l behind Ubaltique (11-12) at Catterick 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft in Jan.
Landecker (IRE) 50-1 (11-3) Held up mid-division, headway before 2 out, left 2nd last, kept on and just held near finish, won at Kelso 2m nh nov hdl (4) gs in Feb beating Rainbow Peak (11-10) by ns, 12 ran.
Maybe I Wont 9-1 (11-3) Tracked leaders in 3rd, one pace before last, 3rd of 7, 9l behind Ubaltique (11-12) at Catterick 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft in Jan.
Secrete Stream (IRE) 9-4 (11-11) Tracked leaders, headway after 4 out, went 2nd and challenged 2 out, kept on, ridden and no impression with winner flat, 2nd of 14, 4l behind Tiqris (11-4) at Wetherby 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Tough Trade 25-1 (11-11) Mid-division, steady headway after 4 out, tracked leaders next, effort to challenge 2 out, soon switched left and one pace, no impression approaching last, lost 3rd flat, 4th of 14, 12l behind Tiqris (11-4) at Wetherby 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Lord Usher (IRE) 14-1 (11-3) Held up in touch, left 3rd from last, kept on, 3rd of 12, 21l behind Landecker (11-3) at Kelso 2m nh nov hdl (4) gs in Feb.