Benefits Well failed to cope with a penalty for his earlier win at Newton Abbot when well beaten in soft going last time. Full Shift made a winning start over hurdles at Newcastle on much faster ground in November and Cole Harden came good in a maiden hurdle at Fontwell on his latest start. But it could pay to stick with BROTHER BRIAN in this, as he beat a previous winner in a novice event over track and trip last month and looks capable of better still. Bumper winner Herons Heir will find this easier than the Listed race at Ascot where he made his hurdling debut and is preferred to In Fairness and Wincanton bumper winner Zulu Oscar.
Benefits Well (IRE) 16-1 (11-5) Always towards rear, weakened from 3 out, tailed off, 11th of 14, well behind Shantou Magic (10-12) at Fontwell 2m 2f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Oct.
Brother Brian (IRE) 7-1 (10-12) Led until 2nd, chased leader until after 4 out, went 2nd again 2 out, challenged and went left last, stayed on under pressure to lead final half furlong, won at Newbury 2m 3f NH nov hdl 4-6yo (4) sft in Dec beating Tistory (11-5) by 1 1/4l, 14 ran.
Cole Harden (IRE) 9-4fav (10-11) Made all, pressed from last, ridden run-in, held on well towards finish, won at Fontwell 2m 4f mdn hdl (4) hvy in Nov beating Westaway (11-0) by 4l, 13 ran.
Full Shift (FR) 8-13fav (11-0) Tracked leaders, went 2nd before 3 out, led when not fluent next, ridden flat, held on when hard pressed towards finish, won at Newcastle 2m (5) gd in Nov beating Clever Cookie (11-0) by 1/2l, 10 ran.
Bay Fortuna 5-1 (10-13) In touch in mid-division on inside, closed 5f out, ridden and every chance over 2f out, stayed on same pace final furlong, 3rd of 9, 8l behind Most Eligible (11-2) at Worcester 2m NH flat (6) gd in Jun.
Church Bray 5-1 (10-12) Held up in 5th, ridden and weakened after 3 out, tailed off, 5th of 8, well behind Walk On Al (10-12) at Southwell 3m nh nov hdl (4) gs in Dec.
Herons Heir (IRE) 10-1 (11-4) Took keen hold and held up in rear, headway on inside 6f out, pushed along in 6th 3f out, soon ridden and weakened over 2f out, 7th of 9, 12l behind Seven Nation Army (11-4) at Ascot 2m Listed NH flat (1) sft in Dec.
In Fairness (IRE) 33-1 (10-12) In touch, weakened before 3 out, 9th of 14, well behind Brother Brian (10-12) at Newbury 2m 3f NH nov hdl 4-6yo (4) sft in Dec.
Master Cynk 20-1 (11-0) Held up, always behind, 7th of 12, 26l behind Wuff (11-0) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f NH mdn hdl (5) hvy in Dec.
Sand Artist (IRE) 25-1 (10-7) Chased leaders, mistake 1st, not fluent 4th, lost place next, soon behind, tailed off, 5th of 7, well behind Mosspark (11-5) at Leicester 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Dec.
The Ould Lad (IRE) 8-1 (10-12) Held up in mid-division, steady headway on inside when slightly hampered 4 out, pushed along and outpaced approaching 3 out, driven and stayed on to 4th between last 2, no impression, 4th of 14, 15l behind Brother Brian (10-12) at Newbury 2m 3f NH nov hdl 4-6yo (4) sft in Dec.
Venez Horace (FR) 25-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders, lost place 3 out, no impression final 2f, 5th of 9, 23l behind So Oscar (11-0) at Towcester 2m NH flat (6) gs in Nov.
Zulu Oscar 5-1 (11-4) Pressed leader, led over 5f out, ridden and hard pressed over 1f out, stayed on strongly towards finish, won at Wincanton 2m NH flat (6) gs in Nov beating Inner Drive (10-11) by 2l, 14 ran.