It was only last December that Waltz Darling took a useful-looking Musselburgh hurdle from Pure Style and Flaming Arrow, a performance that indicated a decent future over jumps lay ahead for the Reveley inmate. Presumably, things haven't gone to plan since as he comes here on the back of a 12l third to Bollin Judith in a Uttoxeter seller, not the upward trajectory that appeared likely last winter. Kirkaig has a major absence to contend with and King Brex has shown little enthusiasm for the game this year. ESPORAO, beaten miles in a competitive Irish handicap last time, previously landed a Clonmel chase with ease and also scored a facile win here last season. Gordon Elliott picks his targets shrewdly at this venue and his charge looks the likeliest scorer.
Esporao (IRE) 14-1 (10-6) Disputed early, led after 2nd, headed 5th, 5th halfway, ridden and weakened after 4 out, 12th of 15, well behind Rawnaq (10-2) at Bellewstown 2m 1f hcp hdl gf.
Waltz Darling (IRE) 8-1 (11-3) Held up in rear, headway after 4th, one pace in 3rd before last, 3rd of 6, 12l behind Bollin Judith (10-10) at Uttoxeter 2m sll hdl (5) gf.
King Brex (DEN) 16-1 (11-5) Always behind, 13th of 14, 45l behind Urban Kode (11-1) at Perth 2m hcp hdl 0-95 (5) gs in Apr.
Kirkaig 20-1 (10-9) Held up towards rear, went 4th before 2 out, chased winner before last, kept on, 2nd of 8, 1 1/2l behind Nelson du Ronceray (10-10) at Hexham 2m sell hdl (5) sft in May '12.
Lewlaur Supreme (IRE) 25-1 (9-9) Always towards rear, struggling in rear before 3 out, tailed off, 11th of 12, well behind Feisty Lass (10-11) at Perth 2m 4f Selling Handicap Hurdle (0-100) (4yo+) (5) gf.