Free As A Lark was bought out of Chris Wall's stable after a seller at Redcar last month and now makes her first start and hurdling debut for Evan Williams but she will need to be useful over timber to get the better of AL DAFA. Gordon Elliott's gelding was good value for his win at Perth last month, has run on the flat since and he looks worth backing for his in-form stable back over timber. Tim Vaughan's Frameit has shown gradual improvement in his four starts over hurdles but may struggle under the penalty for his win at Uttoxeter recently. Peter Bowen's Sansili has shown a consistent level of form and should be thereabouts again but Al Dafa looks the one to beat.
Al Dafa (USA) 11-8fav (10-12) Tracked leaders, challenging when hit 3 out, led before next, stayed on well to come clear flat, won at Perth 2m juv hdl (4) sft in Sep beating Ancient Times (10-12) by 6l, 7 ran.
Frameit (IRE) 11-4 (10-12) Held up in touch, headway to 3rd soon after 5th, led 3 out, clear before next, hit last, easily, won at Uttoxeter 2m juv hdl (4) gd beating Royal Torbo (10-12) by 13l, 7 ran.
Highland Cadett 40-1 (10-12) Raced in 5th, ridden and struggling before 4 out, tailed off, 4th of 9, 47l behind Domtaline (10-12) at Chepstow 2m juv hdl (4) gs.
Sansili 7-1 (10-9) Led, headed when hit 3rd, led again after next, headed 4 out, chased winner, ridden and no impression when weakened to 3rd well before next, 3rd of 5, 24l behind Two Kisses (10-12) at Newton Abbot 2m 1f juv hdl (4) gd in Aug.
Tom Wade (IRE) 66-1 (10-5) Held up towards rear, headway after 4 out, disputing 2nd when mistake and unseated rider 3 out, in a race won by Akula (10-12) at Ludlow 2m 3yo mdn hdl (4) gd, 11 ran.
A P Ling 33-1 (10-5) Led, headed 3 out, soon outpaced weakened next, 10th of 12, 33l behind Joan D'Arc (10-5) at Huntingdon 2m juv hdl (4) gd.
Free As A Lark 9-4 (8-4) Tracked leaders, ridden 3f out, every chance inside final furlong, not quicken last 100 yards, 2nd of 12, 1 1/4l behind Prince Apollo (9-1) at Redcar 1m 2f sell stks (6) gf in Sep (flat).