Megastar, a very smart performer in bumpers last season, probably didn't beat much on his hurdling debut but could hardly have been more impressive and will be a tough nut to crack here. Rock On Ruby won three out of four starts in NH Flat races and looks a useful prospect, while Muldoon's Picnic has won both races under Rules but has a lot more on his plate than when landing a maiden hurdle at Huntingdon in October. Wetherby second Buddy Holly and the ex-French Decoy may also struggle in this grade so the vote goes to KID CASSIDY. A wide-margin winner on his introduction to hurdling over C&D last month, this half-brother to four winners could take high order among the novice hurdles ranks this season.
Decoy (FR) 11-1 (10-3) won at Clairefontaine(FR) 2m 1f hdl sft in Aug beating Acidanthera (10-10) by 10l, 18 ran.
Kid Cassidy (IRE) 13-8fav (11-0) Took keen hold, held up in mid-division, smooth headway after 4 out, chased leaders before next, challenged and pushed left 2 out, led soon after, looked in command when left well clear last, eased flat, won at Newbury 2m NH mdn hdl (3) gs in Nov beating Tornado Bob (11-0) by 15l, 15 ran.
Megastar 1-2fav (11-0) Pulled hard held up, headway to 3rd 4 out, led 2 out, soon clear, comfortable, won at Ascot 2m hdl (2) gs in Nov beating Smokey Oakey (11-0) by 16l, 8 ran.
Muldoon's Picnic (IRE) 4-1 (10-11) Tracked leaders, led approaching 2 out, jinked right before last, ridden clear flat, won at Huntingdon 2m NH mdn hdl (5) gd in Oct beating Roper (10-11) by 5l, 12 ran.
Buddy Holly 10-1 (11-0) Held up in touch, chased leaders after 4 out, ridden and everychance approaching last, kept on flat, always held, 2nd of 10, 1 1/4l behind Delphi Mountain (10-11) at Wetherby 2m mdn hdl (5) gd in Oct.
Champs De Bleu (FR) 66-1 (11-0) Prominent, took keen hold, lost place 4f out, soon weakened, last of 11, 27l behind Blue Monster (11-0) at Kempton 2m Nat Hunt Flat (4yo+) (AWT) (4) std.
Charles 5-1 (10-9) Held up in 4th, headway over 4f out, chased winner 2f out, 1 lenght down entering final furlong, unable to quicken, 2nd of 5, 1 1/2l behind Youralltalk (10-7) at Ffos Las 2m mdn NH flat (5) gf in Oct.
Rock On Ruby (IRE) 11-4fav (11-4) Mid-division, headway over 6f out, led on inside over 2f out, in command over 1f out, ridden clear final furlong, won at Cheltenham 2m NH flat Listed (1) gs in Nov beating Laveroque (11-4) by 5l, 15 ran.
Soleil D'avril (FR) 18-1 (10-12) Held up towards rear, headway approaching 3 out, ridden before next, stayed on flat, 4th of 16, 8l behind Gibb River (10-12) at Huntingdon 2m nh nov hdl (4) gs in Nov.
Sulpius (GER) 100-1 (10-12) Led, ridden and headed before 3 out, weakened next, 7th of 14, 29l behind The Reformer (10-12) at Exeter 2m 1f NH nov hdl 4-6yo (4) gs.
That'lldoboy (FR) 7-2 (10-12) Prominent, took keen hold, led 2nd, headed after 5th, weakening when mistake 3 out, tailed off, 7th of 13, well behind Highland Valley (10-12) at Exeter 2m 5f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Nov.
Fiddlededee (IRE) 5-2fav (10-10) Mid-division, headway after 5th, jumped left and not fluent 3 out, soon beaten, 5th of 15, 11l behind Line Freedom (10-10) at Towcester 2m mares NH nov hdl (4) gs in Nov.