Only six runners in this but it looks very competitive, though classy chaser Gauvain is probably best watched racing over the smaller obstacles for the first time in more than five years and returning from a lay-off. Life And Soul and Cool Macavity both represent yards with an impressive strike rate here and the pair have been racking up wins in novice events this summer. But they have to give weight to a couple of useful handicappers in Rum And Butter and GET HOME NOW. The former has won twice over track and trip this year but we just prefer Peter Bowen's charge, who won in a canter over this distance at Market Rasen last time and looks capable of defying a big rise in the handicap. Pasture Bay also won at Market Rasen recently but this looks a lot tougher.
Gauvain (GER) 8-1 (11-5) Behind, jumped slowly 2nd, soon struggling in rear, lost touch 5th, unseated rider next, in a race won by For Non Stop (10-11) at Aintree 2m 4f ltd hcp chs Grd 2 (1) gd in Oct, 11 ran.
Life And Soul (IRE) 15-8fav (11-12) Led, not fluent 1st, ridden before 2 out, headed when not fluent last, stayed on well to lead again towards finish, won at Cartmel 2m 1f Ladies Handicap Hurdle (0-135) (4yo+) (3) gf in Jul beating Sidney Melbourne (11-2) by 3/4l, 6 ran.
Cool Macavity (IRE) 4-6fav (11-12) Chased leaders, went 2nd from 3rd, closed 5th, led going well 2 out, soon clear, easily, won at Bangor 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) gd beating Separate Shadows (11-5) by 13l, 8 ran.
Rum And Butter (IRE) 5-2fav (10-3) Held up mid-division, went 2nd before 2 out, led before last, kept on strongly, won at Newton Abbot 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gf in Jul beating Hunting Tower (11-5) by 5l, 7 ran.
Get Home Now 3-1fav (10-11) Mid-division, headway and in touch on outside 3 out, led before next, soon ridden, clear last, comfortably, won at Market Rasen 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gd beating Bright Abbey (11-5) by 10l, 9 ran.
Pasture Bay (IRE) 7-4fav (10-5) Tracked leading pair, went 2nd 4 out, led narrowly 2 out, ridden and stayed on flat, won at Market Rasen 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) gd beating Qoubilai (10-12) by 1 1/4l, 6 ran.