HELLO NOD is our selection with Front Rank and Caravel as the alternatives. Julie Camacho's charge deserves to win a race of this nature though often compromises his chances with sloppy leaps at the times at which they mattered most. If able to keep base over apex, he has a very obvious chance. Front Rank has ran well in a couple of events on the flat. The handicapper has not made life easy but Dianne Sayer's charge will not be short on fitness. Caravel was a revelation for connections last season. He was sent off as favourite for the Swinton Hurdle off the back of it and it remains to be seen as to how long it will take for him to recover from that experience in a rough race. Soubriquet has performed well in lesser grade though needs a career best to be competitive here. Marcel has probably regressed somewhat whilst Fistral has to be closely noted in the betting today. He has often been nibbled at on the flat and trainer, Peter Niven, was amongst the winners earlier in the week. Elite Land won over 1m6f on the flat last month and had demonstrated some ability over hurdles when successful at Wetherby earlier in the calendar year. Hello Nod is given a final chance to shine.
Caravel (IRE) 5-1fav (10-12) Mid-division, headway 5th, weakened 3 out, 12th of 24, 13l behind Joe Jo Star (11-0) at Haydock 2m hcp hdl G3 (1) gd in May.
Stellino (GER) 7-1 (11-8) Mid-division, headway 6th, effort after 3 out, weakened before next, 6th of 10, 22l behind Royal Rationale (11-7) at Newton Abbot 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in May.
Front Rank (IRE) 16-1 (11-12) Led, headed approaching 2 out, not fluent, weakened last, 8th of 13, 11l behind Mcmurdo Sound (10-11) at Perth 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gf in Sep.
Quito Du Tresor (FR) 12-1 (11-5) Led, mistake and headed 2 out, weakened quickly, behind when pulled up before last, in a race won by Follow On (9-11) at Hexham 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gd in May, 7 ran.
Soubriquet (IRE) 10-1 (10-12) Held up in group of 5 off the pace, not fluent 1st or 2nd, ridden and effort after 8th, well beaten after 4 out, 6th of 7, 36l behind Master Nimbus (10-13) at Aintree 2m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in Jun.
Hello Nod 10-1 (10-13) Held up in rear, headway on inside approaching 2 out, not clear run before last, kept on flat, 3rd of 15, 2l behind Dancewiththedevil (10-13) at Stratford 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gf in Sep.
Marcel (FR) 7-2 (11-6) Towards rear, hit 2nd, reminders approaching 4 out, soon weakened, 8th of 9, well behind Still At Lunch (10-7) at Kelso 2m 2f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gs in May.
Border Tale 9-1 (11-6) Held up in rear, one pace after 3f out, never dangerous, 6th of 8, 42l behind Front Rank (10-13) at Cartmel 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft in Aug.
Danny Zuko (IRE) 6-1 (11-6) Prominent, dived at 4 out, weakened after 2 out, 6th of 10, 14l behind Truckers Delight (11-6) at Stratford 2m 4f beg chs (3) gf in Sep.
Fistral 4-1 (10-10) In touch, pushed along 4 out, ridden and headway after next, led last, held on flat, won at Wetherby 2m mdn hdl (5) gf in May '08 beating Abstinence (11-0) by 1/2l, 9 ran.
Elite Land 5-1 (10-8) Held up, hampered 5th, headway approaching next, hanging left from 2 out, one pace, went 3rd last, 3rd of 14, 7l behind Bedizen (11-5) at Stratford 2m nov hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gd in Apr.