Bumper winner Big Casino was beaten less than a length by the useful Shutthefrontdoor on his hurdling debut over 2m at Wincanton. He has to go on the short-list but VIBRATO VALTAT was second to Aintree Grade 1 winner L'Unique on his hurdles bow at Kempton and is probably the one to beat with Fergall returning from a break. The latter's second to Many Clouds at Ascot in November is good form, however, though he wasn't as impressive over this trip at Newbury last time. It will be a big surprise if the winner doesn't come from this trio.
Big Casino 7-1 (11-4) Tracked leaders and keen, with leader 5th, led before 2 out, pressed last and not fluent, headed flat, kept on towards finish, 2nd of 7, 3/4l behind Shutthefrontdoor (11-11) at Wincanton 2m nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Fergall (IRE) 8-1 (10-9) Led and soon clear until before 3 out, ridden and headed approaching 2 out, lost 2nd between last 2, no extra flat, 6th of 12, 23l behind Uxizandre (10-12) at Newbury 2m 3f NH nov hdl 4-6yo (4) sft in Dec.
Hugo Drax (IRE) 33-1 (10-8) Always in rear, pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Fishing Bridge (10-12) at Ffos Las 2m 4f mdn hdl (4) sft in Mar, 10 ran.
Jazz Man (IRE) 28-1 (11-7) Prominent, took keen hold, ridden over 3f out, soon weakened, tailed off, last of 17, well behind Southfield Theatre (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m NH flat (4) gs in Oct.
Louis Phillipe (IRE) 20-1 (10-9) Took keen hold, chased leaders, weakened soon after 4 out, tailed off, 5th of 7, well behind Bally Rone (10-7) at Ffos Las 2m 4f mdn hdl (4) sft in Apr.
Never Says Never 14-1 (11-4) In rear, headway over 5f out, one pace and no impression, 3rd of 14, 26l behind Red Sherlock (10-7) at Towcester 2m NH flat (6) hvy in Jan.
Nothing Personal 100-1 (10-9) In rear, effort on outer halfway, weakened over 2f out, 7th of 9, 29l behind Southfield Vic (10-11) at Exeter 2m 1f NH flat (6) sft in Apr.
Scorer (IRE) 33-1 (10-13) Took keen hold tracking leaders, jumped left 3rd, effort 4 out, weakened quickly after next, last of 8, well behind Watered Silk (11-5) at Market Rasen 2m 3f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Apr.
The Happy Warrior 80-1 (11-0) Tracked leader, mistake 1st, weakened before 9th, soon in rear, 7th of 9, 47l behind Cowards Close (11-0) at Exeter 2m 7f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Apr.
Milor De La Borie (FR) 25-1 (10-9) Held up towards rear, hampered 1st, jumped left 3rd, well behind 5th, tailed off, 13th of 15, well behind Royal Guardsman (11-0) at Newton Abbot 2m 1f mdn hdl (5) gs in Apr.
Vibrato Valtat (FR) 15-8fav (10-9) Led, ridden and headed over 1f out, no extra and lodt 2nd place towards finish, 3rd of 5, 4l behind Docs Legacy (11-0) at Wolverhampton 2m Nat Hunt Flat (4yo) (AWT) (4) std in Jan.
Clear Mix 33-1 (10-12) Mid-division, 9th 3 out, soon well beaten, 10th of 12, 26l behind Top Totti (10-12) at Chepstow 2m mrs nov hdl (4) gs in Apr.
Princess Annabelle 33-1 (10-2) Towards rear, swerved left 1st, last when slow 3rd, tailed off 5th, pulled up after, 14th of 15, well behind Royal Guardsman (11-0) at Newton Abbot 2m 1f mdn hdl (5) gs in Apr.