Nicky Henderson's team is starting to get into its stride and it would be no surprise to see Semi Colon produce a better effort in first-time blinkers. Kim Bailey's stable is also going well and South Stack arrives in good heart, though he was behind subsequent Ascot third THORESBY at Towcester last month. The bottom weight appears to have improved lately and can recapture the winning thread here. Ski Sunday's recent form figures don't inspire much confidence but he's been taking on better opposition than this and could easily play a part.
Ski Sunday 12-1 (11-12) Held up, headway before hit 6th, driven on inside and stayed on approaching 2 out, weakened before last, 6th of 8, 17l behind Pocket Too (10-8) at Chepstow 3m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft.
Loose Chips 12-1 (11-12) Led, ridden before 2 out, headed before last, weakened last 100 yards, 3rd of 13, 12l behind San Telm (11-9) at Haydock 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-120 (4) sft in Oct.
Den of Iniquity (10-7) 98th of 16, 29l behind Magic Jack (10-12) at Strasbourg(FR) 2m 3f hdl hvy in Oct.
Semi Colon (FR) 9-2 (11-7) Held up mid-division, went 4th after 4 out, weakened before next, 7th of 13, 33l behind San Telm (11-9) at Haydock 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-120 (4) sft in Oct.
Hired Hand (IRE) 10-11fav (11-12) Chased leaders, closed into 4th 3 out, challenged travelling best from next, led before last, pushed out run-in, comfortably, won at Roscommon 2m mdn hdl in Jun '11 beating In A Nutshell (11-5) by 1 3/4l, 18 ran.
Duaiseoir (IRE) 25-1 (11-6) Towards rear, ridden after 3 out, never a factor, 10th of 14, 49l behind Canadian Diamond (10-9) at Wincanton 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gd in Oct.
Umberto D'olivate (FR) (10-4) 98th of 3, 4 1/2l behind Narco Dancer (10-1) at Paray-Le-Monial(FR) 2m 4f chs gs in May.
South Stack 9-2 (11-5) Mid-division, steady headway on outside before 3 out, led next, ridden and headed approaching last, kept on same pace, 2nd of 12, 2l behind Thoresby (11-2) at Towcester 2m 5f NH Novice Handicap Hurdle (0-105) (3yo+) (4) gf in Oct.
Kasban 9-4 (11-5) Chased leading pair, went 2nd at 2nd until 7th, stayed in 3rd, driven along before 4 out, 4th and no chance with leading trio when pulled up after 3 out, in a race won by Teenage Kicks (10-7) at Fontwell 2m 6f nh nov hdl (4) gf in Jun '11, 8 ran.
Marble Walk (IRE) 12-1 (11-12) In rear, mistake 10th, ridden next, some headway 3 out, never on terms, 4th of 8, 47l behind Gentleman Jimmy (10-11) at Plumpton 3m 1f hcp hdl 0-105 (4) gs in Mar.
Thoresby (IRE) 16-1 (10-6) Held up towards rear, headway from 3 out, chased leaders approaching next, driven between last 2, went 3rd flat, kept on but never able to challenge, 3rd of 16, 11l behind Ivor's King (10-13) at Ascot 2m 3f nov hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gs.