A very competitive handicap has attracted a few likely improvers and the market should be a decent guide as to which are ready to do themselves justice after a break. Black Thunder didn't do a great deal wrong in his first season but, on a line through Cheltenham winner Captain Sunshine, may struggle to concede 6lb to former stable companion BOLD CHIEF. The latter is now with Harry Fry and he's already shown he can get his charges ready at home so the seven-year-old gets a tentative vote here as he has the beating of Medinas on the form book. Hi Note was no match for Dodging Bullets at Cheltenham last time but has been in good heart and Cockney Trucker and Fox Appeal should improve for a run at Cheltenham last month. Beyond is lurking on a fair mark but hasn't won over hurdles for more than two years while Mush Mir has been chasing.
Cockney Trucker (IRE) 33-1 (11-2) Mid-division, not fluent 1st, headway 6th, ridden after 3 out, weakened approaching last, 13th of 20, 41l behind Action Master (10-6) at Cheltenham 3m hcp hdl (2) gs in Oct.
Black Thunder (FR) 13-8fav (11-5) Mid-division, headway after 4th, went 2nd 3 out, challenged next, ridden to lead when edged left before last, kept on, won at Chepstow 2m nov hdl (4) sft in Apr beating Princely Player (11-5) by 2 1/2l, 12 ran.
Fox Appeal (IRE) 14-1 (11-3) Held up in rear, jumped right and not fluent 1st, went right next, hampered after 9th, mistake 2 out, never on terms, 10th of 20, 27l behind Action Master (10-6) at Cheltenham 3m hcp hdl (2) gs in Oct.
Hi Note 4-1 (10-5) Led, not fluent 4th, headed next, soon led again, ridden and headed last, no impression on winner flat, 2nd of 5, 8l behind Dodging Bullets (10-12) at Cheltenham 2m 4yo hdl (2) gs in Oct.
Mush Mir (IRE) 11-4fav (11-7) Reluctant to jump off, soon led, reluctant passing paddock exit, jumped right and headed 7th, stayed close 2nd until 4 out, blundered and weakened next, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Kauto Relko (10-12) at Bangor 2m 4f nov chs (4) gd in Apr, 6 ran.
Medinas (FR) 16-1 (10-11) Tracked leaders, went 2nd 3 out, led 2 out, ridden and headed approaching last, stayed on, no impression on winner final 150 yards, 2nd of 23, 2 3/4l behind Bondage (10-13) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-140 (3) gs in Oct.
Bold Chief (IRE) 10-3fav (11-4) Pressed leader, led approaching 2 out, ridden 2 1/2 lengths clear when hit last, soon edged right, headed towards finish, 2nd of 7, 1l behind Captain Sunshine (11-4) at Cheltenham 2m 4f nh nov hdl (2) gs in Apr.
Our Bomber Harris 11-8fav (11-0) Tracked leader, led 4 out, not fluent next, drew clear from 2 out, eased flat, very easily, won at Hereford 2m 3f nov chs (4) gd in Apr '11 beating Quo Video (11-4) by 23l, 5 ran.
Pascha Bere (FR) 50-1 (10-8) Mid-division on outer, ridden before 2 out, soon weakened, 16th of 24, 41l behind Paintball (10-7) at Sandown 2m lst hcp hdl (0-150) (1) gs in Mar.
Beside The Fire 18-1 (11-9) Tracked leaders, mistake 5th, led when not fluent 3 out, edged left flat, stayed on well, won at Ludlow 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gd in Oct beating Esteem (10-1) by 3/4l, 17 ran.
Beyond (IRE) 11-4fav (10-4) Led and set strong pace, ridden when headed 2 out, weakened to 3rd before last, 3rd of 10, 11l behind King Of The Night (11-12) at Kempton 2m 5f hcp hdl (2) gd in Oct '11.