A big field and plenty of interesting lurkers. From a shortlist of ACKERTAC, Black Jack Blues and Steptoe, it is the first-named who is narrowly preferred. A bumper winner at the track, the selection shaped with plenty of promise when sixth at Leicester last time out. That was his hurdling debut and the winner is very smart so he should run a big race here. Black Jack Blues has bumped into some smart horses but like the favourite he shouldn't mind the drop in trip this afternoon, Calon Crwbin shaped with promise last time and is capable of better, whilst Hidden Keel also ran well on his hurdling bow last time and is considered accordingly. Steptoe contested three strong bumpers last season but with little success; hurdling debutants from the yard always command respect and fans will be hoping that he isn't an old rubbish cart-horse. Swift Lord is an interesting recruit as well. He has a first run for Gary Moore today and the market will help guide to his chance. Thomas's Gift, The Darling Boy and Weapon Of War are three more to consider, but in an open heat we are happy to side with Ackertac.
Ackertac (IRE) 8-1 (10-7) Tracked leaders, raced keenly, jumped right and not fluent 2nd, not fluent next, weakened approaching 2 out, 6th of 12, 18l behind Will Be Done (10-9) at Leicester 2m 4f nh nov hdl (3) sft in Dec.
Black Jack Blues (IRE) 9-4fav (11-5) Held up, headway after 4 out, kept on from 2 out, 3rd of 13, 7l behind Chartreux (11-5) at Ffos Las 2m 4f mdn hdl (4) gs in Jan.
Border Lad 125-1 (10-12) Mid-division, lost place 3 out, tailed off, 11th of 15, well behind Chain Of Command (10-12) at Hereford 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Dec.
Calon Crwbin 66-1 (11-1) Held up towards rear, some headway and jumped slow 3 out, one pace from next, 8th of 14, 21l behind Taffy Thomas (11-4) at Ffos Las 2m mdn hdl (4) gs in Jan.
Hidden Keel 6-1 (11-4) Held up in rear, good headway approaching 3 out, close up 2 out, beaten approaching last, 5th of 11, 4l behind Dinarius (11-9) at Towcester 2m nh nov hdl (3) hvy in Jan.
Jay J 16-1 (10-9) Held up, pushed along halfway, last and struggling before straight, tailed off, 11th of 13, 36l behind Adams Island (11-0) at Ffos Las 2m NH flat (6) gs in Dec.
Just One Thing (IRE) 8-1 (11-2) Held up in last, raced keenly, ridden over 1f out, never near leaders, 5th of 7, 13l behind Wallace Monument (11-2) at Ludlow 2m NH flat (5) gs in Nov.
Red Rouble (IRE) 25-1 (11-5) Chased leaders, reminders after 7th, left 3rd 3 out, stayed on same pace from next, 3rd of 8, 21l behind Sir Kezbaah (11-5) at Lingfield 2m 3f nh nov hdl (4) hvy in Jan.
Steptoe 16-1 (10-8) Held up in touch, weakened approaching 3 out, 13th of 18, well behind Lidar (10-8) at Doncaster 2m NH flat (2) gf in Feb '09.
Swift Lord (IRE) 9-4fav (11-7) Tracked leaders, 5th halfway, headway in 3rd 3f out, led 2f out, ridden clear over 1f out, kept on well, comfortably, won at Downpatrick 2m 2f N H flat gd in Oct beating Limekiln (11-3) by 4 1/2l, 13 ran.
The Darling Boy 11-2 (11-0) Held up in touch, jumped left 3rd, not fluent next, improved when not fluent 5th, ridden approaching 3 out, soon beaten, 7th of 11, 43l behind Aohna (10-7) at Huntingdon 2m NH mdn hdl (5) gd in Nov.
Thomas's Gift (IRE) 6-1 (12-0) Bhd, 10th 1/2 way, 9th 5out, prog to 7th next, went 5th 3out, ko onepcd, 5th of 13, 16l behind Cul An Ghabhann (12-0) at Clonakilty 3m ire ptp in May '08.
Weapon Of War (IRE) 100-1 (11-1) Mistake 1st, mid-division, outpaced 3 out, never on terms, 7th of 14, 29l behind Cheshire Prince (11-6) at Huntingdon 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Jo Joe's Lot (IRE) 40-1 (10-9) Held up in 5th, went 3rd approaching 3 out, weakened before 2 out, blundered last, 3rd of 7, 42l behind Banjaxed Girl (10-7) at Uttoxeter 2m mrs nov hdl (4) hvy in Jan.
M'lady Eliza 20-1 (10-9) Held up in rear, headway 4f out, shaken up over 2f out, one pace over 1f out, 4th of 8, 11l behind Old Mcdonald (11-2) at Ludlow 2m nhf (4) sft in Dec.
River Rhapsody (IRE) Alderbrook gelding out of Double Symphony.