A P McCoy has a good book of rides today and can start followers off on the right foot by steering FAVOURS BRAVE to victory in this opener. Tim Easterby's gelding goes well here and the fact that he's already been placed over 2m5f should stand him in good stead stepped back up in trip. Pasture Bay has been placed in all five starts over timber but is struggling to get his head in front while Faith Jicaro was beaten off a 3lb lower mark at Hereford earlier this month. There are question marks hanging over most of the others, though Nikos Extra will have needed his comeback run and is well treated on his form over fences
Valley Lad (IRE) 7-2 (10-7) Close up on inside, headway to 3rd 3 out, led approaching 2 out, joined and went left 2 out, went left last, foung no extra and headed final 150 yards, 2nd of 8, 1/2l behind Meister Eckhart (10-12) at Ffos Las 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) hvy in Dec.
Nikos Extra (FR) 20-1 (11-12) Chased leaders, jumped big 1st, outpaced before 5th, 6th of 11, 27l behind Gay Sloane (11-2) at Hereford 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gf in Aug.
Rayhani (USA) 25-1 (11-1) Rear of mid-division, no impression from 4 out, 16th of 20, 31l behind Norther Bay (11-10) at Gowran Park 2m hcp hdl 8Evens16 gd.
Schelm (GER) 11-1 (11-2) Mostly 5th, 4th after 3 out, no impression next, 6th and beaten when mistake last, 6th of 7, 14l behind Osana (11-2) at Ballinrobe 2m 1f chs hvy in Aug.
Dizzy River (IRE) 12-1 (9-13) Held up, mistake 2nd, ridden after 7th, never on terms, awkward and well beaten 2 out, 5th of 10, 26l behind Grandads Horse (11-12) at Haydock 2m 4f Novice Handicap Hurdle (0-135) (4-8yo) (3) gd in Apr.
Faith Jicaro (IRE) 9-2 (11-12) Held up in touch, headway to chase leaders before 3 out, challenged 2 out, every chance last, ridden flat, kept on and held towards finish, 2nd of 8, 3/4l behind Finch Flyer (11-5) at Hereford 2m 1f nov hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gf.
Pasture Bay (IRE) 13-8fav (11-0) Tracked leaders, wandered 4th, went 2nd before 2 out, soon ridden, no impression approaching last, 2nd of 7, 21l behind Ace Fighter Pilot (11-0) at Hereford 2m 4f mdn hdl (4) gf in Aug.
Favours Brave 2-1fav (11-7) Led, soon clear, blundered and reduced lead 3rd, pressed from 4th, headed flat, driven and stayed on, 2nd of 10, 1l behind Claude Carter (11-4) at Market Rasen 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gd.
Dark Energy 16-1 (10-11) In rear, ridden 3 out, headway next, kept on one pace, 4th of 8, 9l behind Glingerbank (11-12) at Market Rasen 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gd.
Goldan Jess (IRE) 18-1 (11-2) In rear, not fluent 2nd, ridden after 6th, struggling 8th, behind when hampered and brought down 3 out, in a race won by Geminus (11-3) at Southwell 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-105 (4) gd in Aug, 11 ran.
Galley Slave (IRE) 9-1 (9-7) Behind, pushed along 4th, headway before 2 out, kept on from last, nearest at finish, 3rd of 10, 7l behind Scriptwriter (9-12) at Sedgefield 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gf.
Aughcarra (IRE) 25-1 (10-12) Held up towards rear, weakened from 4th, 7th of 10, 35l behind Red Whisper (11-0) at Hereford 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-95 (5) gf.