Ballybriggan looked a smart prospect when scoring at Aintree and Market Rasen in 2010/11 but hasn't been seen since well beaten in the Swinton Hurdle last May. The Thirsty Bricky had shown massive improvement over fences when last seen in the spring and the fact that he can race off an 8lb lower mark over hurdles is a pointer and his young rider is good value for his claim. Lightening Rod has generally performed in better company over hurdles and he's another with a fine claimer on board while Alta Rock completed a double in the spring of last year and was having his first subsequent start at Wetherby last month. He'll be much fitter and has to be noted but Stanley Bridge has been finding it tough since his C&D victory in April and may be a few pounds high. The three-year-old Asteroid Belt has only raced against his own age group and this is tougher but another youngster, Snowed In, ran a fine race at Carlisle last time and wouldn't need to improve much. Sam Lord is badly out of sorts so the one to be on is PERTUIS, who showed nothing in three minor races over timber at the turn of the year but has been in excellent form on the Flat this summer and enters the fray on a very workable handicap mark.
Ballybriggan (IRE) 10-1 (10-10) Held up in touch, headway 3 out, soon weakened, 11th of 22, 22l behind Eradicate (11-5) at Haydock 2m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gd in May '11.
Lightening Rod 9-1 (11-1) Held up well in rear, steady headway 4 out, went 3rd approaching and went left last, kept on same pace flat, 3rd of 15, 9l behind Sporting Boy (11-3) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gs in Nov.
The Thirsty Bricky (IRE) 5-2fav (11-12) Tracked leader, with leader 7th, every chance 3 out, led before 2 out, headd before last, kept on same pace, 2nd of 6, 1 3/4l behind Mon Chevalier (11-2) at Sedgefield 2m hcp chs 0-115 (4) sft in May.
Alta Rock (IRE) 14-1 (11-1) In touch, ridden and weakened before 3 out, tailed off, 7th of 15, 48l behind Sporting Boy (11-3) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gs in Nov.
Stanley Bridge 4-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders and keen, led 6th, ridden and headed last, no extra, 2nd of 7, 10l behind Rupert Bear (11-0) at Hexham 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) hvy in Nov.
Asteroid Belt (IRE) 3-1 (11-5) In rear, headway 4th to chase leaders, ridden and went left when disputing 2nd at last, no chance with winner, 2nd of 8, 11l behind Dovils Date (10-12) at Musselburgh 2m 3yo hdl (4) gd in Nov.
Sam Lord 9-2 (11-5) Led to 6th, tracked leader, weakened after 2 out, 6th of 7, 31l behind Rupert Bear (11-0) at Hexham 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) hvy in Nov.
Pertuis (IRE) 50-1 (10-10) Held up towards rear, never on contention, 7th of 14, 32l behind Jackson Cage (11-9) at Wetherby 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Feb.
Snowed In (IRE) 40-1 (10-6) Held up in rear, headway before 2 out to go 3rd, chased winner before last, switched left run-in, kept on towards finish, just held, 2nd of 7, 3/4l behind Mitchell's Way (11-9) at Carlisle 2m 3f nov hcp hdl 0-110 (4) sft in Nov.