STARLUCK has been impressive in his two starts to date and can make it three in a row at the main expense of Classic Swain and Balzaccio. One could argue that the selection hasn't beaten much to date and that perhaps his place near the very top of the Triumph betting for the festival is a tad optimistic. He was visually impressive when brushing aside Laterly at Fakenham and is fancied to continue his progression here. Whilst he was rated in the 90's on the flat, he is actually bettered by Silk Affair. The Quinlan's daughter of Barathea contested Listed races but with little success and she has a little to prove on this hurdling bow. There is plenty of French form on offer, and as to the merits of each it is hard to say. Classic Swain has joined a top yard and market support would be interesting with AP McCoy coming in for the spare, whilst Perlon and Balzaccio have both made successful crossings into the British jumps game and each has claims despite their penalties. True Blue Saga and Der Spieler, two raiders from France and Germany respectively both need close consideration, but in an intriguing affair, it is Starluck who can win again.
Balzaccio (FR) Evensfav (10-12) Tracked leader, led after 2 out, clear flat, won at Haydock 2m 3yo nov hdl (3) gf in Nov beating Woolfall Treasure (11-4) by 8l, 5 ran.
Perlon (FR) (10-6) 2nd of 13, well behind Reblis (10-10) at Compiegne 2m 1f clm hdl in Nov.
Starluck (IRE) 6-4fav (11-5) Held up, smooth headway 5th to go prominent, led 3 out, soon clear, very easy, won at Fakenham 2m 3yo nov hdl (4) gs in Nov beating Laterly (10-12) by 18l, 13 ran.
Classic Swain (USA) (8-9) Prominent, one pace final 2f, 6th of 7, 10l behind Shemima (8-8) at Longchamp 1m 7f Grp 3 (1) gs in Sept (Flat).
Der Spieler (GER) (9-2) Chased leaders, hard ridden to lead close home, won at Dortmund 1m 4f 3yo stk std beating Solola (8-11) by a nk, 10 ran (Flat).
Hawkstar Express (IRE) 50-1 (10-7) Chased leaders, hit 3rd, never going after, mistake 5th, soon lost touch, tailed off, last of 6, well behind Woolfall Treasure (11-5) at Folkestone 2m 1f 3yo nov hdl (4) sft in Nov.
Ramona Chase 10-1 (8-11) Held up in rear, headway and not clear run over 1f out, no chance after, 7th of 13, 8l behind La Sarrazine (8-5) at Newbury 1m 2f hcp 0-100 (2) sft in Oct (Flat).
Time To Play 5-2 (9-0) Held up, took closer order 3f out, hung badly left on bend 2f out, hung left and beaten straight, 5th of 8, 8l behind L'Hirondelle (9-6) at Kempton 1m 1f mdn aut stk (5) pol in Nov (Flat).
True Blue Saga (IRE) (10-1) Led 3 out, soon headed and weakened, 6th of 12, 24l behind Brave Kim (10-1) at Fontainebleau 2m 2f 3yo hdl hvy in Oct.
Silk Affair (IRE) (8-8) Held up, ridden and late headway, 8th of 19, 9l behind Believe Me (9-4) at Saint-Cloud 1m 4f lst stk (1) hvy in Nov (Flat).